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

"Conspiracy theories are big because they're comforting. Any conspiracy is infinitely less multiplex than the real deal, which is multiplex to the point of being unknowable."
- William Gibson

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
Are There Diamond Planets?
Brick By Brick, Building Martian Bases
Cool 'Single-Person Spaceships' Have Better SF Name
Skating On Mars' Frozen Pools

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

SuperMeat - Crowdfunding Pohl/Kornbluth's Chicken Little
'Chicken Little, who would be sliced and packed to feed people from Baffinland to Little America.'

Martian-Grown Food Might Be Fine
'I donít want to come off as arrogant here, but Iím the best botanist on the planet.'

MARLO Robot Attempts Wave Field
'It is apparent that he will walk before his human brother.'

3RDiTEK Lifeblogging Headband Camera
'It's logging anyway - everything you see on duty goes into the black box.'

3D-Printed Biohybrid Is A Tissue-Engineered Robot
'The directing neurological tissue that forms the basis of the swibble is alive...'

Steerable Locusts Detect Explosives
Science fiction writers again provide a blueprint for the future.

No Human Drivers By 2040 - Israel
'It's been a criminal offense,,, to drive manually on a public highway.'

Graphene Ultracapacitor Airships For Heavy Lifting
'The war-balloons were to be kept for purposes of transportation of heavy articles...'

Uber Hires Robot Security Guard
'The robot studied the identification clip.'

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.