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

"In my mind I have gone all over the universe, which may make it less important for me to make piddling little trips... I did enjoy seeing Stonehenge. It looked exactly the way I thought it would look."
- 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
New Laser Space Debris Clearing More Subtle Than Clarke's
Proposal To Use Lasers To Analyze Asteroids
Juno Gets Close To Jupiter, Fiction Gets Closer!
NASA Submarine For Titan

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

Snap Specs - Snapchat Spectacles - Are Video Glasses
'The old woman laid her wire-knitting aside and fixed them with the bug-eyed, opaque gape...'

Reading A Scroll Burned To Charcoal
'The scope was adjusted to generate... an image of the lower section of the book.'

Robot Arrested In Moscow
They should have thrown a net over him.

Oh Great, Fence-Climbing Robots
How long till they add the acid-tipped stingers?

Software Agents Fight Unseen On The Web
'...Worms and counter-worms loose on the data-net.'

Sandisk 1 Terabyte SD Memory Card Surfaces
'They should be Welton Fine-Grains, or they would be too bulky to ship...'

Carbyne, The Ultimate Form Of Carbon
'A continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal...'

Bradbury's Method Used In Search For Bombing Suspect
'He imagined thousands on thousands of faces peering into yards, into alleys...'

New Laser Space Debris Clearing More Subtle Than Clarke's
Rather than nudge them up, nudge them down.

Robots Learn To Swarm Safely
'They were bronzy gleams of smooth motion...'

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.