Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is."
- Isaac Asimov

Atmospheric Braking  
  Using a planet's atmosphere to gradually decelerate a spacecraft.  

This is a relatively early reference to the idea of aerobraking, although Heinlein describes something similar in an earlier book.

Yancey elected to use atmospheric braking in any case to save his reaction mass for future use... The ship's company spent a crowded, tiring fifty-six hours shut up in the control room while the ship dipped into the clouds of Venus and out again, a bit deeper and a bit slower on each round trip. The ship grew painfully hot and the time spent in free space on each lap was hardly enough to let her radiate what she picked up...
From Space Cadet, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Scribner's Sons in 1948
Additional resources -

Heinlein also refers to this idea in his 1941 novel Methuselah's Children; here's a quote:

It looked like - yes, it was a "Joyboat Junior", a little private stratoyacht, suitable only for point-to-point trajectory, of at the most for rendezvous with a satellite provided the satellite could refuel it for the return leg.

There was no fuel for it here. A lightning pilot possibly could land that tin toy without power and still walk away from it... provided he had the skill to play Skip-to-M'Lou in and out of the atmosphere while nursing his skin temperatures - but Lazarus wouldn't want to try it. No, sir!

Fritz Leiber also described a similar process in his 1962 story The Snowbank Orbit. I can't find a quote online.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for providing the tip and the story reference.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Space Cadet
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Space Cadet
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Articles related to Space Tech
Caihong Solar-Powered Drone 'Atmospheric Satellite'
NASA Wants Low Earth Orbit Wifi
The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
Pent-Up NASA Scientists Simulate Life On Mars

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

PassivDom 3D Printed House - What If You Could Live Anywhere?
'The houses are prefabricated units...'

Caihong Solar-Powered Drone 'Atmospheric Satellite'
'... placed in the wings of a plane to generate power from the light falling on that surface.'

NASA Wants Low Earth Orbit Wifi
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'

Is Genetic Testing At Businesses A Bad Idea?
It's not a topic that fares well in science fiction movies-

Wearable Smart Jacket
He pressed the button in his sleeve communicator and snapped: 'Action stations!'

Store One Bit On One Atom
'...each individual molecule has a meaning.'

Fluorescent Bacteria Fashion
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.