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Chasing the Dream

The story behind the US space program and a vision for the future

"Chasing the Dream" is non-fiction and explains the US space program from its inception to today with many personal anecdotes by a guy who was in the trenches over the last fifty years. The book is semi-technical (3 equations), but should be easily understandable by anyone who reads Scientific American. This book explains the great advances in space transportation technology that have happened over the last fifty years, and how those advances have been mostly misapplied, or shelved by political intrigue, such that we still have not achieved the goal of people living and working in space even after spending hundreds of billions of equivalent 2019 dollars. However, the book also explains how numerous commercial companies are now using the best of those technologies to reduce the cost to getting into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and thereby insuring that the dream of moving into space is still alive and well. Finally, this book shows where space travel is heading in both the near and distant futures as humankind immigrates into the solar system and beyond. The book is 510 pages long with 278 illustrations and 158 references.

"Chasing the Dream" in Hard Cover

Buy the 510 page book in Leather-Bound Hardcover with gold leaf printed cover

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"Chasing the Dream" in Paperback

Buy the book as a deluxe  8 by 10 inch paperback with 20 color figures included.

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Future Space Transportation Systems that should have happened, but didn't.

Fifty Years ago we were told that average citizens would be traveling to space and visiting the moon by now.

It could have happened, but it didn't. This book explains how close we came, what destroyed the dream, and who was responsible (just organizations, no names). This book also describes how the dream is coming back and what the future holds.

Would you like to take a four-day cruise to the moon in Ocean Cruise-Ship type Accommodations?

The example shows what is possible with existing and near-term technologies provided we can achieve low-cost access to Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO). The US government has spent tens of Billions of Dollars developing systems to achieve low-cost-access to LEO, but has never delivered that capability. This book describes and explains several different  systems that accomplish that feat, have been developed using government monies, but never put into production.

We were never behind in the Space Race!

The "fact" that the US was losing the Space Race in 1961 is often given as the reason for all the money spent on the Apollo Program. This book shows that we were never "behind" and in fact had better technology, but it had been developed by the USAF in classified programs and the politicians had decided that space development was going to be a civilian program.

The best example of this is the X-20 Dyna-Soar piloted orbiter whose reentry art is shown on the right. The X-20 contract was signed in April 1959, the Critical Design Reviews were completed in late 1962, and the vehicle delivery was scheduled for October 1964. Unfortunately, Robert McNamara canceled the Dyna-Soar program which was within a month of final assembly and transferred the remaining funds to the civilian Gemini spacecraft and the military Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) in December 1963. MOL was cancelled in 1969 after running up expenses of $1.5 B (1969$). MOL was cancelled because our robot spy satellites could produce superior results, for less cost.


This theme was repeated time after time. A successful Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) program will be cancelled for political reasons before flight hardware is delivered.

Low $/lb to LEO is the Key to Living and Working in Space

This book explains launch systems development costs, operating costs, and return on investments. As shown on the figure on the right, the LEO launch market is highly elastic once the cost per pound to orbit gets below $800 (dark blue line).

It was derived from interviews with hundreds of prospective space users during the 1993-94 Commercial Space Transportation Study. First, it shows that current launch providers would reduce their yearly revenue (pink line) with any reductions in launch price which is why launch costs have been stagnant for forty years. To raise revenue above current levels, the launch provider must join forces with with the on-orbit businesses they are enabling (yellow line). Recent studies summarized in the book show that then both business types can make lucrative profits.

The labels across the top show roughly the $/lb to LEO expected with existing and in-development  launch systems. The author expects both the New Glenn (Blue Origin) and BFR (now Starship from Space-X) to operate with $/lb well within the elastic market range, and therefore to enable living and working in space for the average citizen.

The book shows how close we are getting to having humans working and living in space.

Meet the Author

Dr. Dana G Andrews, PhD

I am a retired Rocket Scientist and I have heard all the jokes. I worked for the Boeing Company for over 33 years, then worked for one of my sons for ten years, and finally ended up consulting and teaching at the University of Washington. I enjoyed my career but I was often disappointed by political decisions that negated the good engineering work done for the NASA, the USAF, and the DARPA. Hence this book. I started writing about the programs I worked on first, then programs worked on by close colleges, and finally wrote about future programs I had analyzed. The book took six years to write with most of the effort over the last ten months.

 I enjoyed telling my story and I hope you find it interesting and educational.

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