Archive for the ‘Space Book Reviews’ Category



I am pleased to be part of National Geographic’s yearlong journey – Starstruck — exploring the past, present, and future of space exploration.

My new book for National Geographic – Moon Rush: The New Space Race – will be launched in May, a volume that explores the Moon in all its facets, from ancient myth to future “Moon Village” plans; inside information about how the United States, allies and competitors, as well as key private corporations like Moon Express and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, plan to reach, inhabit, and even harvest the Moon in the decades to come.


For more information on Moon Rush: The New Space Race, go to:

Official launch

National Geographic has officially launched Starstruck – a celebration of space across its global networks, magazines, books and more.

For starters, MARS: INSIDE SPACEX, premiered Monday, November 12, at 8 p.m. eastern, offering an unprecedented glimpse into SpaceX and Elon Musk’s plans to make Mars home.

For more information, go to:

Season 2 of National Geographic’s TV docudrama MARS premiered on November 12 at 9 p.m. eastern.

Credit: National Geographic
















For more information, go to:

Please check out my book — Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet — the companion book to the National Geographic Channel MARS TV series that takes a look at the promise, problems, and potential pitfalls as humans land on and learn to live on Mars.

Go to:

Credit: NASA

Apollo 11…and beyond

Culminating with the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing next July and a coinciding week of Apollo programming on National Geographic channel, Starstruck will rally National Geographic’s unrivaled portfolio of storytelling platforms around the spirit of space exploration, and the nostalgia, curiosity and feeling of limitless possibility that it brings.

Join in on all the National Geographic activities… and don’t forget to look up.

For more information, go to:

Credit: DIA Public Affairs

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has released “Challenges to Security in Space,” a report that examines the space and counterspace programs that could challenge U.S. or partner interests in the space domain.

The report notes that “space-based capabilities provide integral support to military, commercial and civilian applications” and that “longstanding technological and cost barriers to space are falling, enabling more countries and commercial firms to participate in satellite construction, space launch, space exploration and human spaceflight.”

Visualization: DIA, D3 Design • 1812-20432

Modern warfare

Among items detailed, the report notes that:

Chinese and Russian military doctrines indicate they view space as important to modern warfare and counterspace capabilities as a means to reduce U.S. and allied military effectiveness.

Both countries have developed robust and capable space services, including space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.


Visualization: DIA, D3 Design • 1811-20013

China and Russia are making improvements to existing systems including space launch vehicles and satellite navigation constellations. These capabilities provide their militaries with the ability to command and control their forces worldwide with enhanced situational awareness, enabling them to monitor, track and target U.S. and allied forces.

Reversible to non-reversible effects

The DIA report adds that Chinese and Russian space surveillance networks are capable of searching, tracking and characterizing satellites in all earth orbits. This capability supports both space operations and counterspace systems.

Both states are developing jamming and cyberspace capabilities, directed energy weapons, on-orbit capabilities and ground-based antisatellite missiles that can achieve a range of reversible to non-reversible effects.

DIA’s “Challenges to Security in Space” report is available here:


The Definitive Career Guide for Entrepreneurial Space declares that the commercial space revolution is here, and it’s hungry for talent.

Offered by Space Angels, a source of capital for early-stage space ventures, the guide is authored by Justus Kilian and Jessica Holland.

“We’ve created this guide to give you concrete steps to start your journey towards a career in space now,” they explain.

Radical transformation

As detailed in the guide:

“The space industry is in the midst of a radical transformation. When SpaceX started launching its rockets a decade ago–making it far easier for commercial space startups to enter the market–it triggered a wave of entrepreneurial innovation. Today, Space is a $400B market that touches every aspect of our lives, from location-based services to global finance. The next generation of space technology will be responsible for delivering global internet, fighting climate change, and taking humanity to Mars.”

Credit: SpaceX

“To accomplish such audacious goals, the industry will require talent with diverse skills and backgrounds from every walk of life. We spoke with the most influential companies and leaders across entrepreneurial space, who were generous in sharing detailed practical advice, big-picture guidance, and the stories of their own careers.”

Career tips

The guide carries a number of career tips, offered by individuals deep into their own space professions.

To download the guide, go to:

For detailed information on Space Angels, go to:


Outpost in Orbit: A Pictorial & Verbal History of the Space Station by David Shayler and Robert Godwin (Executive Editor Gary Kitmacher), Apogee Books, 2018; 8½ x 11, 320 pages full glossy color, $49.95.

So often above where I live there’s a marvel of space engineering that flies overhead – a finger-pointing exercise into the night sky. There are few that can appreciate the complexity of the International Space Station (ISS), how it was built, by whom, and what are the experiences of the folks that took the high road and roared off to live onboard this unique vessel of the vacuum.

This book is a beautiful illustration of getting a dream done. The volume celebrates the recent 20th anniversary of the astonishing ISS, but more than that details the foundation from which ISS grew.

Lavishly illustrated, and created with the assistance of NASA, Outpost in Orbit is a visual and noteworthy account of why space stations are mandatory for moving forward – not only giving us a leg up on low Earth orbit – but pushing onward.

The reader will find this read incredibly informative, not only about what the ISS represents today, but a great account about the pioneers that pushed the boundaries on why and how a station is needed and can be built. Personally, I found those pages of great benefit. What a legacy of thinking made the ISS what it is today – a heritage that few know, but underscored in this book.

This book is filled with comments from astronauts, engineers, managers, retirees and historians. Adding to the value of the book are interviews with key leaders from NASA, the Russian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency and the Japanese Space Agency – all of which contributed to making the ISS the triumph it is today.

In this unique anniversary accolade, you’ll be introduced to over 100 space stations designed by German Russians, British and American thinkers – all prelude to planting you onboard the high-flying ISS via hundreds of pictures, many never published before.

For more information on this book, go to:

Also go to this informative interview with author Robert Godwin about the book:

In addition, Godwin is interviewed on the popular Space Show to talk about the book, available at:

Credit: National Geographic




National Geographic has officially launched Starstruck – a celebration of space across its global networks, magazines, books and more.

For starters, check out MARS: INSIDE SPACEX, premiering Monday, November 12, at 8 p.m. eastern, an unprecedented glimpse into SpaceX and Elon Musk’s plans to make Mars home.





For more information, go to:


Then stay tuned for the start of Season 2 of National Geographic’s TV docudrama MARS premiering on November 12 at 9 p.m. eastern.

MARS Season 2 trailer and Season 1 Recap –

MARS Season 1 that premiered in 2016 (six episodes) –

Credit: National Geographic

For U.S. and international viewers, look for my book that’s now in six languages and coming out in Chinese shortly: Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet is the companion volume to the National Geographic Channel MARS TV series Season 2, a six-part docudrama that begins on November 12th. The book takes a look at the promise, problems, and potential pitfalls as humans land on and learn to live on Mars.

“This big, welcoming book—brimming with mind-revving photographs and artists’ conceptions and written with verve and precision by David—provides the foundation on which the scientifically rigorous, speculatively imaginative series was built.” —Booklist

Go to these sites or wherever books or sold:

Credit: National Geographic




International outreach

Here are some links for our international readers to the book in these languages:










The book is also available in Greek and forthcoming in Chinese. We will post those direct links as they become available. If you want to read these international websites in English, your browser should have a clickable link to translate them for you.

Credit: Project Ploughshares

The Space Security Index 2018 has been published by the Canadian peace-and-security think tank, Project Ploughshares.

Among key findings is noting the deteriorating security conditions in outer space in the absence of renewed governance efforts.

The just-issued report underscores:

Plans for mega-constellations of satellites that outpace sustainability rules;

A drive toward next-generation space exploration and resource extraction by private actors;

The emergence of dual-use technologies such as debris removal, satellite servicing, and maneuvering capabilities;

Continuing development and demonstration of anti-satellite capabilities;

U.S. plans for space-based ballistic missile interceptors that could mark the first deployment of space-based weapons.

Voluntary guidelines

Space Security Index 2018 also underscores the work of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) that reached consensus on 21 voluntary guidelines to enhance the long-term sustainability of space activities.

In a press statement, Project Ploughshares project manager Jessica West explains that the growing geostrategic tension and mistrust discourage the development of constraints on the use of force in outer space. This lack of regulation has serious repercussions.

Space access

West asserts that space security is global security. Every facet of well-being – military security, humanitarian security, socioeconomic security, and environmental security – depends on the ability to access and use services from outer space. Dangerous activities could pollute the outer-space environment beyond repair through the production of space debris, limiting or ending such services.

Space Security Index 2018 was produced by civil society and academic organizations under the leadership of Canadian nonprofit organization Project Ploughshares. Partners include The Simons Foundation Canada; the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec; the Space Policy Institute at The George Washington University in Washington, DC; the Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics at the University of Adelaide Law School in Australia; and the School of Law at Xi’an Jiaotong University in China.

For a copy of the report, go to:

Credit: CSPS

Luxembourg has demonstrated a successful five-point approach toward a unique space policy and strategy for space sector growth. How can the U.S. leverage the Luxembourg model to support other countries around the globe?

A new report from The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy (CSPS) has concluded that Luxembourg has taken a unique approach to space sector development, opting for a commercial-centric strategy rather than the traditional government-centric strategy.

Five points

Examination of Luxembourg’s approach to space reveals five keys points that can be extracted from it: commercial focus, risk tolerant, cross-cutting, international, and visible. These five points can be used as a model that others can use as guidance in starting or growing their space sectors.

The just-issued paper is authored by Kristi J. Bradford, a senior member of the technical staff in The Aerospace Corporation’s Space Architecture Department.

“With the rise of nations that have ambitions to diversify their national economies or grow their space capabilities, the U.S. public and private sectors have ample opportunity to provide support to these countries, which could open doors to many opportunities for the U.S. The Luxembourg five point model offers a potential framework for supporting foreign nations in their space capability development,” Bradford concludes.

The October 2018 paper — A Model for Space Sector Growth: A Luxembourg Case Study — is available at:

National Geographic’s Space Atlas combines updated maps, lavish photographs, and elegant illustrations to chart the solar system, the universe, and beyond. For space enthusiasts, science lovers, and star gazers, here is the newly revised edition of National Geographic’s enduring guide to space, with a new introduction by American hero Buzz Aldrin.

In this guided tour of our planetary neighborhood, the Milky Way and other galaxies, and beyond, detailed maps and fascinating imagery from recent space missions partner with clear, authoritative scientific information.

Starting with the Sun and moving outward into space, acclaimed science writer and physicist James Trefil illuminates each planet, the most important moons, significant asteroids, and other objects in our solar system. Looking beyond, he explains what we know about the Milky Way and other galaxies–and how we know it, with clear explanations of the basics of astrophysics, including dark matter and gravitational waves.

For this new edition, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his moonwalk, astronaut and American hero Buzz Aldrin offers a new special section on Earth’s Moon and its essential role in space exploration past and future.

Note: Truth in advertising – I helped on this informative book, working with Buzz Aldrin on his detailing of the Apollo 11 mission and its aftermath – LD

For more information, go to:


The Smithsonian History of Space Exploration – From the Ancient World to the Extraterrestrial Future by Roger Launius, Smithsonian Books, Washington, D.C., October 2018; $40.00, 400 pages.

Space historian Roger D. Launius has written a marvelous volume, an inclusive illustrated guide to the history of U.S. and international space exploration, both crewed missions and robotic encounters.

The book is divided into 10 sections: Laying the Foundations for Space Exploration; World War II Paves the Way for Space Exploration; Making Space Exploration Real; The Space Age Dawns; The Race to the Moon; New Nations, New Missions; Space Planes and Orbital Stations; The Lure of the Red Planet; Beyond Mars; and Transterrestrial Expectations.

You can tell by the titles of those sections how rich and valuable this book is, both in subject matter and quality of research and writing. As Launius notes in the introduction: “The story is far from complete; indeed, it has only just begun.”

The book spotlights how much progress has made given the foundation of work by the ancients of Greece, Rome, and China, along with the great astronomical revelations of Renaissance thinkers such as Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. Mix in the onslaught of technological and mechanical breakthroughs and you move from gazing upwards and wondering…to men, women and machines traveling from Earth to encounter the unknown, first hand or by robotic sensor.

Stunning photographs and artwork are used throughout the book from the past, present-day, and artistic glimpses into the future that are yet to unfold. In fact, I enjoyed very much the build-up to the book’s closing section on the future. The reader will find solid accounts of space activities now in play, from next generation space access, the future of orbital space planes, to lunar research stations and pursuing interstellar space exploration.

While setting the stage for 21st century and beyond space exploration excitement, Launius raises in the last pages five challenges that need addressing before you’ll be sending postcards from the edge of space. I won’t tell you what they are, but they add vibrancy to this must-read book.

For more information on this book, go to:

How to Live in Space – Everything You Need to Know for the Not-So-Distant Future, by Colin Stuart, Smithsonian Books, September 2018; $17.95, 192 pages.

Stuart has written a witty and insightful book that spotlights life on the outside – of our own planet. This is a fun read, particularly if you’re in line, ticket in hand, for space tourism companies to make your dream vacation come true.

This book is a breezy encounter with the many sides of space, providing some needed information on training for space travel, living in space when you get there, and what the future holds. Dozens of well-illustrated short chapters make this book a pleasurable read, no matter what section you land on.

Stuart is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and takes the reader on a voyage of possibilities, from checking in to space hotels, building a base on the Moon, to escalating yourself on a space elevator or breakthroughs necessary to attain interstellar flight. There’s even a slice of time travel ticking away for you to read. I skipped over the exercise section.

In this book, you’ll be encountering what the future of human space exploration offers. Count me in!

Still, Stuart does caution: “There’s no way it is going to be perfect. Progress is always a meandering path rather than a straight line.” That said, space is up and those that have the passion to break boundaries will find this volume a solid, delightful, fact-filled and astute guide to the possible.

Preparing for personal space travel doesn’t come easy. But Stuart has culled it all down to astronaut selection criteria, underwater training, as well as dealing with bouts of space sickness.  Again, all nicely written tutorials for the taking.

How to Live in Space is an instructive, illustrated guide to life beyond our own planet that covers everything from training for and living in space to the future of space travel and tourism. For those on the go, securely helmeted and ready for liftoff, this book is a pre-launch requirement.

For more information on this book, go to:

Griffith Observatory Event