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A list of space exploration related books (some are online, some are on paper)
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Awesome Space Books Awesome

A list of space exploration resources (born at before the unfortunate politicization and general decline of the SE network).

This list includes links/citations for books and other resources that are deemed classical in the field of space exploration. Many of the books are offline, try to contact your nearest library to arrange an ILL. If you want 'lighter' reading online while waiting for the books to arrive, go to Winchell Chung's Atomic Rockets site.


Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported


The full list of contributors at Space Exploration StackExchange

Guidelines (h/t to D.Richard Hipp)

GitHub lists on space sciences and technology

Table of contents

Reference books

Mission analysis and design. Project management

  • Space Mission Analysis and Design. W. J. Larson and J. R. Wertz (Editors). Microcosm Press, 1999. ISBN 9780792359012
  • Space Mission Engineering: The New SMAD. James R. Wertz (Editor).
  • Space Systems Failures. Harland, Shayler, Lorenz. 2005. ISBN 9780387215198
  • Orbit and Constellation Design and Management. J.R. Wertz. Microcosm, 2001. ISBN 9781881883074
  • Deep Space Flight and Communications: Exploiting the Sun as a Gravitational Lens. Claudio Maccone. Springer, 2009. ISBN 9783540729426
  • Online An old and unmaintained version of NASA Cost Estimation web site
    • There's also Handbook of Cost Engineering and Design of Space Transportation (Koelle, 2013). Please take NASA's experience with a grain of salt, though (Faster, better, cheaper - right?).

Incident and accident investigation reports

NOAA N' mishap

⇈ This ⇈ is what happens when you don't read the books.

... and also this:

Ballistics, dynamics, and control

  • Space Vehicle Dynamics and Control. Bong Wie. AIAA, 1998. ISBN 9781615830442
  • Modeling and Simulation of Aerospace Vehicle Dynamics. (2nd ed.). Peter H. Zipfel. AIAA, 2007 ISBN 9781601195395
  • Flexible spacecraft dynamics, control and guidance (technologies by Giovanni Campolo). Leonardo Mazzini. Springer, 2016. ISBN 9783319255385
  • Statistical Orbit Determination. B.D. Tapley, B.E. Schutz, G.H. Born. New York, Elsevier, 2004. ISBN 9780080541730
  • Online Spacetrack Report Number 3. Hoots, Roehrich. The foundational work on General Perturbations theory used in the SGP4 propagator for TLE (Two Line Element) data. Free PDF
  • Online Dynamical Systems, the Three-Body Problem and Space Mission Design, Koon, Lo, Marsden & Ross, 2006. Free PDF form Caltech
  • Libration Point Orbits and Applications. J.Masdemont. 2003.
  • Fundamentals of Kalman Filtering: A Practical Approach. Paul Zarchan, Howard Musoff, Frank K. Lu. (3rd ed.) AIAA, 2009. ISBN 9781600867200
  • Orbital Mechanics for Engineering Students. Howard Curtis, 2005. ISBN 0080470548
  • Online LEO on the Cheap: Methods for Achieving Drastic Reductions in Space Launch Costs. John R. London III, Lt Col, USAF. Research Report No. AU-ARI-93-8, Air University Press, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, October 1994. Available here.


  • Modern Engineering for Design of Liquid-Propellant Rocket Engines. Dieter K. Huzel and David H. Huang. AIAA, 1992.
  • Mechanics and Thermodynamics of Propulsion. P. Hill, C. Peterson. Addison-Wesley, 1992
  • Online Rocket Propulsion Elements, 7th Ed.. G.P. Sutton & O. Biblarz. John Wiley & Sons, 2001 Free PDF from MIT
  • Online Liquid rocket combustion instability. NASA, 1972. SP-194. Harrje D.T., Reardon F.H. Free PDF from NTRS via WebArchive
  • Liquid rocket engine combustion instability. Progress in Aeronautics and Astronautics, vol. 169. AIAA; 1995. Yang V., Anderson W. (eds.)
  • Online Fundamentals of Electric Propulsion: Ion and Hall Thrusters. Dan M. Goebel, Ira Katz. Free PDF from NASA

Thermal control

  • Spacecraft Thermal Control Handbook: Vol.1 Fundamental Technologies. David G. Gilmore (ed.) AIAA, 2002. ISBN 9781884989117


  • Online Deep Space Optical Communications. Hamid Hemmati. JPL, 2005. Available online at JPL
  • Online Deep Space Telecommunications Systems Engineering. Joseph H. Yuen (Ed.), Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 1982, (JPL Publication 82-76) Available here

Scientific payloads

  • Principles of Space Instrument Design. A. M. Cruise, T. J. Patrick, J. A. Bowles, C. V. Goodall. Cambridge Univ.Press, 1998. ISBN 9780521451642.

External risks

  • Space Debris: Models and Risk Analysis. Heinrich Klinkrad. 2006. ISBN 9783540376743
  • Online Handbook for limiting orbital debris. NASA, 2008 (expired in 2013). Still Online.
  • Spacecraft-Environment Interactions. Daniel Hastings & Henry Garrett. Cambridge Univ.Press, 1996. ISBN 9780521471282
  • Online COSPAR Planetary Protection Policy



  • Spacecraft Operations. Thomas Uhlig, Florian Sellmaier, Michael Schmidhuber. Springer, 2014. ISBN 9783709118023
  • Online Safety Standard for Oxygen and Oxygen Systems. NASA, 1996. Available in pdf (CAUTION: NTRS - files are prone to disappearance - use Wayback Machine if 404'ed).

Manned exploration references

Model and amateur rocketry

  • Online How to Design, Build and Test Small Liquid-Fueled Rocket Engines, Leroy J. Krzycki, Rocketlab / China Lake, CA., 1967 Online source


History books and collections

Above: Orion test article powered by conventional explosives. Source:

Nonfiction and activity space books for children

  • Age 4-8 Brian Floca: Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 NY : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2009. (48 pages) ISBN 9781416950462

  • Age 5-7 Martha E. H. Rustad: The Exploring Space (6 x 24 pages)

  • Linda McReynolds: Eight Days Gone (48 pages, 2012) ISBN 9781580893640.

  • Age 7-11 Raman Prinja: Universe Rocks (4 x 32 pages, 2012) ISBN 9781848359345.

  • Elise Gravel: Blast off with Doodle Tom (96 pages)

  • Age 8-10 Heinemann-Raintree (publisher): Astronaut Travel Guides (8 x 48 pages)

  • Age 9+ Mark Brake, Nishant Choksi: Really, Really Big Questions about Space and Time (64 pages)

  • Age 9-13 Don Nardo: Destined for Space (64 pages)

  • Age 9-13 Enslow Publishers: The American Space Missions—Astronauts, Exploration, and Discovery (6 x 48 pages)

  • Age 10+ Ian Graham: 3D Explorer: Solar System (32 pages pop-up)

  • Age 10-13 Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano, Michael Carroll: A Black Hole Is Not a Hole (48 pages)

  • Age 10+ Clive Gifford: Out of This World: All the Cool Bits About Space (128 pages)

  • Age 10+ Pamela Dell: Man on the Moon: How a Photograph Made Anything Seem Possible (64 pages)

  • Kristen McCurry, Mat Edwards: How to Draw Amazing Airplanes and Spacecraft (64 pages)

  • Age 11+ Eve Hartman, Wendy Meshbesher: Mission to Mars (56 pages)

  • Review of children's space-themed books by Emily Lakdawalla

Interdisciplinary books

  • Cosmochemistry. Harry Y. McSween Jr., Gary R. Huss. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010. ISBN 9780521878623.
  • Atlas of the Galilean Satellites. Paul Schenk. 2010. ISBN 9780521868358.


Lists of online books/reports

Lists in this repository

Online courses and textbooks (free of charge)

John E. Draim's satellite constellation patents

4809935, 4854527, 5582367, 5669585, 5788187, 5845206, 5957409, 5979832, 6102335, 6263188, 6457678, 6487476, 6577864, 6611683, 6678519, 6701126, 6714521, 6795687, 6954613

What to do next

The list of (historical and current) launch vehicle user manuals

It should be noted that there are on-line commercial resources with space-related technical information (like the above-mentioned, but not advertised here L2). Readers are encouraged to check availability of linked documents (even those accessible via Web Archive) and submit pull requests with permanent links at to avoid knuckle-headed retroactive cleanup perpetrated by web site owners.

An infographic from Randall Munroe (Copyright XKCD):

Copyright XKCD

Where to look for other awesome lists

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