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The twenty-first century space industry is changing drastically where private sector companies (e.g. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic SpaceshipOne and Elon Musk’s SpaceX) are building a dizzying array of new space crafts and rockets, not just for government use, but for any paying customer. At the heart of this space revolution are spaceports, the centre and literal launching pad of spaceflight. The up-front costs of spaceports are measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars, the competition is extreme, and failure is unforgivable?and often fatal.
Aerospace journalist Joe Pappalardo has witnessed rocket launches around the world, visiting every working spaceport in the US. In his comprehensive book Spaceport Earth, Pappalardo describes the rise of a plethora of private companies in space tourism and how they are reshaping the way the world is using space for industry and science. Spaceport Earth is a travelogue through modern space history as it is being made.
From the Cape Canaveral to the jungle launch site in French Guiana, spaceflight fanatics will appreciate the close perspective to launch sites, while those new to the industry will be enamoured by stories of the industrial titans, engineers, billionaires, schemers and politicians who are redefining what it means for humans to be a spacefaring species.