Rising to the Challenge of Space Flight

History of space flight to future possibilities.


The path to spaceflight began with the Chinese development of the kite in the 5th century BC. Later steps included manned balloons in the late 18th century, heavier-than-air manned flight in 1903, breaking the sound barrier in 1947, jet airliners in the late 1950s, jumbo jets in 1970, and the supersonic Concorde in 1976. On October 4, 1957, Sputnik 1 was the first satellite to orbit Earth, and Yuri Gagarin, in 1961, aboard Vostok, 1 was the first man in orbit. The United States’ Project Mercury (1958 –1963), Project Gemini (1961 – 1966), and Project Apollo (1961 – 1972) led to Neil Armstrong aboard Apollo 11, on July 21, 1969, becoming the first human to set foot on the Moon. The US Space Shuttle Program (1972– 2011) was included in the construction and supply of the International Space Station (1988 – present). Pioneer 10, in December 1973, became the first spacecraft to achieve Solar System escape velocity. Voyager 1, in August 2012, became the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space. A primary issue in plans for interstellar exploration is the amount of propellant required. Some propellantless thrust-generating methods are currently in use or have been proposed. Among them are the “gravity assist maneuver” and various “field propulsion” methods, wherein the momentum of a spacecraft is changed by interaction with external force fields. Realistically, the speed of light barrier presents challenges of distance and time that are unlikely to be met by the use of rocket propulsion in any of its current or hypothesized forms. The solution presumably lies in some form of distortion in the space-time continuum that would permit matter to reach distant locations in less time than light could in normal or undistorted space-time. Two such possibilities, Space Portals and Wormholes, are still purely theoretical.


David Ritchey






5.5 x 8.5

Year Published




1 review for Rising to the Challenge of Space Flight

  1. Philip Van Heusen

    Reviewed By Philip Van Heusen for Readers’ Favorite

    Since the dawn of time, man has dreamt of flying. Rising to the Challenge of Space Flight by David Ritchey shares the quest for flight throughout history. He traces flight history all the way back to kites in China before the time of Christ and then forward to what might be one day. Greek mythology taught the joy and the dangers of flight in the story of Daedalus and his son Icarus. From ancient China and Greece, David continues his aviation history through the age of the lighter-than-air flight and into the age of modern planes and jets. After learning much about flying, the reader can move into David’s discussion of flight’s future, including space flight. This book is a fantastic resource for understanding the history and future of flight.

    If you shake your head at the fantastic advancements in flight, you will love reading David Ritchey’s book Rising to the Challenge of Space Flight. This book covers volumes of information concerning the history of flight. However, David skips the deeply technical jargon and opts for writing in an understandable style. Not having to look up aviation terms in the dictionary is just one reason this book will be a joy for those interested in flight. If you like history, you will enjoy reading the history of aviation. If you are not into history but love to travel, you will be thrilled to learn how a heavy aircraft can stay in the air. If you are into aviation, this book will enlighten you about how aviation got to where it is today. Finally, suppose you are a dreamer of the future. In that case, David will also take care of your curiosity about the future of flight. This is a book that all can enjoy reading and discussing.

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About the Author

After being educated in economics at Yale University, David Ritchey served five years as an officer in the U.S. Navy, including a year in Vietnam. Back in civilian life, he initially became a businessman as he had been trained but, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, he dropped out, got a divorce, moved to a remote old stone farmhouse and took up fine art photography as his vocation, winning over 60 awards during the next fifteen years.

During that period, he became fascinated with the psychology and neurology of both creativity and metaphysics and returned to school to train as a psychotherapist. During his fifteen years of clinical practice specializing in hypnotherapy, he undertook a twelve-year project to research and write about such subjects and his first book, The H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P., was published in 2003. Writing proved to be every bit as rewarding as photography and became his primary vocation. Being an inveterate learner, he focused on non-fiction subjects, enjoying the research as much as the writing. His more than forty published works have won over 25 literary awards. His books can be found at www.davidritchey-author.com and online book stores.

See Books by David Ritchey Here

His avocations have included scuba diving, sailing, skiing, tennis, golf, gardening, woodworking, dogs, magic, bridge, and Scrabble. He has two adult children, Harper and Mac, and one almost-adult grandchild, Brendan. He lives in historic Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and spends most of his time either writing or engaging in stimulating conversations over restaurant meals with close friends.


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