The Basics of Space Flight

"The Basics of Space Flight," a popular, longtime Internet offering that teaches the essentials of operating interplanetary spacecraft missions, has been updated and is now available, courtesy of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., at .

The self-teaching guide, created by JPL spacecraft operations engineer David Doody, was originally created almost a decade ago to help JPL spacecraft operators understand the concepts of and relationships between various specialized elements of a space mission, such as spacecraft engineering, mission design, launch and telecommunications. Since then, "Basics of Space Flight" has engendered broad appeal inside and outside of NASA for aerospace professionals and armchair space explorers alike. It also enjoys growing popularity among high school and college students and faculty.

"Our purpose was to cover the broad range of all subject matter that plays into robotic spaceflight," said Doody. "It covers broadly, but not deeply, all the elements of a robotic space mission. Any one of the topics we touch on could involve a lifetime of specialization." Doody said he drew upon contributions from experts in different fields at JPL and numerous other institutions.

The module, unavailable in printed form, is intended to be used online via the World Wide Web. Interactive quizzes provide users with a measurement of their progress.

"Basics of Spaceflight" was created by Doody for JPL's Telecommunications and Mission Operations Directorate under NASA's Office of Space Science. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

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