familiar with separate texts on each of the subjects to be taught, there seemed to be no single existing text that covered all the topics at a level that could be used for an introductory class. The first time the course was taught, handouts were created for each of the topics covered. Each successive time that the course was taught, the handouts were updated based on the experience of the preceding class. The idea to publish came very
early, and the handouts evolved into the chapters that make up this text.
In its manuscript form, this text has been used by several hundred students, in several different institutions, under different instructors, with very favorable reviews. The most common comment is the ease with which the student can read and understand the material. Although the text is geared toward sophomore/junior undergraduate engineering students who will continue to take courses in these space-related topics, it has proven to be comprehensible and interesting to students in other science and nonengineering fields as well. The subjects are introduced on a basic level with no prior related knowledge expected of the student. A fundamental knowledge of physics, differential equations, dynamics, and other pre-engineering subjects is helpful, but not necessary, to understanding the basic concepts presented. To emphasize this point, the subject matter of the text has been condensed into a “short course” that has been presented to many diversified groups of managers, technicians, military personnel, and other professionals- not necessarily engineers-over the past several years. Many of these people are involved in space systems acquisition or operation, and most report that the course provides them with a more complete level of understanding that makes them more comfortable in their fields and which they believe will help them in their professions. The text material has
proven to be an excellent reference and review source for the student and professional alike.