ROCKET CITY U. S. A. by Erik Bergaust


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Rocket City is not Cape Canaveral, Florida, but Huntsville, Alabama, home of the Army's massive missile and booster programs, and anyone on the lookout for a am-packed, if jerky, jumbled-up low-down, will find it here in author Bergaust's abbling prose. There's everything from exclamatory scoops (Russia may reach the oon first with a one way expedition), to Chamber of Commerce ballyhoo (once upon a time Huntsville's most notable exports were watercress and Tallulah), along with economic eyebrow raisers (for the past 5 years the Army Missile Command has poured million dollars a day into Alabama finance), and all-in-one-breath questions (""Can NASA tell us when we will visit Mars and Venus, or distant Pluto, or even voyage beyond our solar system?""... No, it can't). Hero of the book is Wernher Von Braun, whom Bergaust calls ""a seer"" (almost every phase of the space program, including the unar one, is pushed according to plans and predictions published by Von Braun 10 years ago). Other subjects include the payload struggle, the ""arsenal concept"" of management, the Nike-Zeus coup, Project Gemini and its follow-up Project Apollo, aturn's 3-stage launcher and Nova, the projected 1,500,000 pounder, plus some crystal balling: the ion propulsion principle producing a spacecraft speeding at million miles a day.... In short, smashing in scope, sloppy in script.

Publisher: Macmillan