07 September 2009

Book Review: Rockets and People: Creating a Rocket Industry

Andrew S. Erickson, review of Boris Chertok, Rockets and People: Creating a Rocket Industry, Vols. 1 and 2 (Washington, DC: NASA, 2005), Air & Space Power Journal, 23.3 (Fall 2009): 124-25.

In this initial two-volume set, Boris Chertok chronicles Soviet air and space development through approximately 1960, drawing on his six decades of experience as one of Moscow’s foremost air and space engineers, engaged in nearly all major projects. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration plans to publish volumes three and four (concerning Moscow’s space program in the early-to-mid 1960s and the moon shot in the late 1960s, respectively) in 2008–9. Translated from the original Russian (published in Moscow as Rakety i lyudi, 1994–99) and substantially revised, the series is edited by noted space historian Asif Siddiqi. In these volumes, Chertok offers unique historical insights and documentary references, many previously unavailable in the West, thus giving the reader penetrating views into an era in which “rocket-space technology became one of the determining factors in the politics of the leading nations” (vol. 1, p. 8).