"Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way."
The Nautilus, a passenger spacecraft, was in orbit around Venus. What was the best way for a passenger like Don Harvey to get to the surface?
And how could such a ship find its way safely back to a designated landing site on the surface of the planet? By using, as Heinlein points out, the energy it had already built up in gaining orbit:
(Space Shuttle Columbia)
Note that in Heinlein's "design" the shuttle ship uses a catapult to reach ramjet speed; rocket engines are used only in the last part of the launch. The actual Space Shuttle uses a large external fuel tank with solid fuel boosters to reach orbit.
Thanks to Larry for pointing this one out, and supplying the references.
Compare to this entry, the first use of the phrase "space shuttle", in Hell Ship of Space (1940) by Frederic Arnold Kummer, Jr.. See also the Clarke Spaceplane from A Quantum Murder (1998) by Peter F. Hamilton.
Want to Contribute an
Ulm Sleep Pods For The Homeless
'The lid lifted and she crawled inside...'
Prophetic Offers Lucid Dreaming Halo With Morpheus-1 AI
''Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer...'
More Like A Tumblebug Than A Motorcycle
'It is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel...'
Tesla Camera-Only Vision Predicted In 1930's SF
'By its means, the machine can see.'
First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'
Aptera Solar EV More Stylish Than Heinlein Steel Tortoise
'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'
Gigantic Space Sunshade Would Fight Global Warming
'...the light of the sun had been polarized by two crossed fields so that no radiation could pass.'
Untethered Spacewalk's 50th Anniversary
'But that space walk of mine wasn't so very amazing.'
ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase
'It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.'
AlphaGarden Robot Cares For Gardens Better Than Humans
'...a simple clock-set servok with pipe and hose arms.'
|Home | Glossary
| Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact
Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™
Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.