Handbook of Space Engineering, Archaeology, and Heritage: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Handbook of Space Engineering, Archaeology, and Heritage

1st Edition

Edited by Ann Darrin, Beth L. O'Leary

CRC Press

1,035 pages | 322 B/W Illus.

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Some might think that the 27 thousand tons of material launched by earthlings into outer space is nothing more than floating piles of debris. However, when looking at these artifacts through the eyes of historians and anthropologists, instead of celestial pollution, they are seen as links to human history and heritage.

Space: The New Frontier for Archeologists

Handbook of Space Engineering, Archaeology and Heritage, published this month by CRC Press Taylor and Francis Group, brings together 43 anthropologists, historians, physicists, and engineers, a scientific team as culturally diverse as the crew of any science fiction cruiser. They offer a range of novel historical and technological perspectives on humankind’s experience in space. This ambitious work presents an informative, thought-provoking, and educational text that discusses the evolution of space engineering, spacecraft reliability and forensics, field techniques, and mission planning, as well as space programs for the future. The book is edited by a pair of scientists from different sides of the campus: Ann Garrison Darrin, aerospace engineer and NASA veteran and Beth Laura O’Leary, anthropologist and member of the World Archaeological Congress Space Heritage Task Force.

The handbook delves into the evolution of space archaeology and heritage, including the emerging fields of Archaeoastronomy, Ethnoastronomy, and Cultural Astronomy. It also covers space basics and the history of the space age from Sputnik to modern day satellites. It discusses the cultural landscape of space, including orbital artifacts in space, as well as objects left on planetary surfaces and includes a look at the culture of Apollo as a catalog of manned exploration of the moon. It also considers the application of forensic investigation to the solving of cold case mysteries including failed Mars mission landing sites and lost spacecraft, and even investigates the archaeology of the putative Roswell UFO crash site and appraises material culture in science fiction.


Never before have I been asked so constantly about a certain book on my desk. … the present book tries to extend various concepts and terms to space which previously had been applied only to Earth. … A big and well-justified effort goes into the definition of the terms used in the discussion. There is even a 30-page appendix explaining the terminology as well as an appendix listing all current space programs and organisations. The index is extensive and helpful. … the overall quality of the print and the book is good. It is primarily addressed to experts; however, the content is intelligible for any interested reader with a basic scientific understanding.

—Manuel Vogel, Contemporary Physics, 52, 2011

The Handbook is an interdisciplinary enterprise containing contributions from aerospace engineers, anthropologists, archaeologists, astronomers, historians, physicists, and other specialists. … The sheer size of the Handbook — more than a thousand pages and weighing 1.6 kilos — makes it an impressive piece of work. … its mere existence is to be seen as a statement in itself. The Handbook of Space Engineering, Archaeology, and Heritage takes the insight that there are no temporal or spatial limits on archaeology one step further — we have here a definite lift-off for ‘space archaeology’.

—Mats Burström, Department ofArchaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden, in European Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 14, 2011

Table of Contents

All Sky Survey

Introduction, A. Garrison Darrin and B.L. O’Leary

Archaeology: The Basics, E. Staski

The Evolution of Space Archaeology and Heritage, B.L. O’Leary

Space Basics: The Solar System, J. Emhoff

Space Basics: Orbital Mechanics, J. Emhoff

Space Basics: Getting to and Staying in Space, M.M. Donegan

Ground Segment: Ground Systems and Operations, R. M. Furrow

Launch Segment: Launch Vehicles and Spacelift, D.E. Clemens and B. Leary

Space Segment: Space Vehicles and Payloads, A. Garrison Darrin and T. Mehoke

The Sky: A Cultural Perspective

Archaeoastronomy, Ethnoastronomy, and Cultural Astronomy, S. Milbrath

Introduction to the Space Age

History of the Space Age, A. Millbrooke

From Vengeance 2 to Sputnik 1: The Beginnings, R. Osiander

The Space Race and the Cold War, R. Sturdevant and G. Orndorff

Origin and Developments in Commercial Space, P.A. Stadter

The Maturing Space Age, R.L. McNutt, Jr.

The Landscape of Space

The Cultural Landscape of Space, A. Gorman

Orbital Artifacts in Space, D.E. Clemens

Introduction to Space Debris, R. Osiander and P. Ostdiek

Heritage of Earth Orbit: Orbital Debris—Its Mitigation and Cultural Heritage, A.


Spacecraft and Objects Left on Planetary Surfaces, R. Gold

The Culture of Apollo: A Catalog of Manned Exploration of the Moon, P.J. Capelotti

Spacecraft Forensics and Mystery Solving

Space Hardware: Mystery Solving, A. Garrison Darrin and P. Prettyman

Failed Mars Mission Landing Sites: Heritage Places or Forensic Investigation Scenes?,

D.H.R. Spennemann and G. Murphy

Lost Spacecraft, P.J. Stooke

Space Hardware: Models, Spares, and Debris, R.D. Lorenz

Environmental Effects and the Material Record

Natural Formation Processes and Their Effects on Exoatmospheric Objects, Structures,

and Sites, E. Staski and R. Gerke

Space Environmental Effects, J.L. Sample

Space, Atmospheric, and Terrestrial Radiation Environments, J.L. Barth

Thermal Environment and the Effects on Aging, D. Mehoke

Potential Effects: Atmospheres of Space Bodies on Materials, W.S. Heaps

Wear and Tear: Mechanical, T.S. Swanson

The Space Environment and Spacecraft Electrical Systems, A. Garrison Darrin

Contamination Control and Planetary Protection, M.M. Donegan

Studies in Aging, P.J. Biermann

Preservation of Space Objects and Case Studies

Space Technology: Vanguard 1, Explorer 7, and GRAB—Materials and Museum

Concerns, H. Szczepanowska

CORONA KH-4B Museum Preservation of Reconnaissance Space Artifacts: A Case Study, H. Szczepanowska

In Situ Preservation of Historic Spacecraft, R. Barclay and R. Brooks

Archaeology of the Putative Roswell UFO Crash Site: A Case Study, W. Doleman

Space Policy and Preservation

International Space Community and Space Law, S. Doyle

One Giant Leap: Preserving Cultural Resources on the Moon, B. L. O’Leary

On the Nature of the Cultural Heritage Values of Spacecraft Crash Sites, D.H.R.


Mission Planning—Space Archaeology and Preservation Planning: System Engineering Perspective, A.Q. Rogers and A. Garrison Darrin

The Future and Space Archaeology

The Plan for the Future Preservation of Space, B.L. O’Leary

Space Exploration: The Next 100 Years, R. L. McNutt, Jr.

Surveying Fermi’s Paradox, Mapping Dyson’s Sphere: Approaches to Archaeological Field Research in Space, P. J. Capelotti

The Mind and the Cosmos

Developing Exoarchaeology in the Solar System and Beyond, J.B. Campbell

Technology and Material Culture in Science Fiction, T.S. Mehoke

Space Archaeology and Science Fiction, L.J. Paxton

Space Archaeology and the Historiography of Science Fiction, B.G. Boone



About the Editors

Ann Garrison Darrin has worked at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for more than 10 years. Ann Darrin is a member of the principal staff and is the manager in the Milton S. Eisenhower Research Center for the Aerospace and Materials Sciences group. Prior to joining the laboratory, Ann worked at NASA Goddard Space Center in aerospace engineering and was the Division Chief for Assurance Technologies. She is the author of numerous papers and an author and editor of the book MEMS and Microstructures for Aerospace Applications. As a technologist, Ann holds numerous patents and has participated in several exciting, albeit small, technology "firsts" in space. Ann is the founder and co-chair of the MEMS Alliance Mid-Atlantic and holds degrees from the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Maryland University College.

Beth Laura O’Leary has taught anthropology at New Mexico State University since 1991. She has worked in cultural resource management for the federal government, private firms, and universities. She is currently vice chairperson of the Cultural Properties Review Committee, a governor-appointed policymaking board on historic preservation for the state of New Mexico. Beth is a recognized expert in the emerging field of space archaeology and heritage. In 1999, she received a grant from the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium to document the archaeological assemblage at the Apollo 11 lunar landing site and to investigate ways to manage and preserve sites on the Moon for the future. She has co-chaired several international symposia on space heritage in the United States, Australia, Canada, and Ireland and is a member of the World Archaeological Congress Space Heritage Task Force. Beth has a BA from Mount Holyoke College and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of New Mexico.

About the Series

Advances in Engineering Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Astrophysics & Space Science
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology