Apr 272013

Back in grade school there was a book that I was fond of… that I’ve been looking for ever since. It was, I’m pretty sure, a NASA publication from the early 1960’s on building model spacecraft and launch vehicles. One of the models was this early “Nova” design:

Does anyone know what book I’m referring to?

 Posted by at 6:05 pm
  • David Winfrey

    Not a NASA publication, but this book describes building various rocket models, including the Nova illustrated, by means of cardboard discs glued to dowels, then wrapped in paper:


    • Anonymous

      That looks like that might be it. Not being a NASA book might explain why years of searching for it on NTRS failed…

      • publiusr

        Books on aerospace pre-computer art just seemed much higher in quality years ago. There was a book in my old school library on airships, inclusing one that shoed a winged airship cancept that dwarfed a 747. I haven’t a clue as to its title.

        • Anonymous

          That would be “Airships for the Future”

    • Anonymous

      That was indeed the book. Smaller than I remember… but then, I suspect I was a bit smaller the last time I saw it.

  • Grif


    I think that this:


    may be what you’re looking for – I saw some of these models in a book called something like “Space Age Industrial Arts”, which was a book for teachers – I’ve got the book on my shelf at home. No Nova, but it’s interesting anyway!

  • gormanao

    I also remember that book! There is a good set of Nova plans in “Sport Rocketry,” March/April 2002 issue.

  • Bruce

    I think I remember “Airships for the Future” too. If that is the same book that shows a
    concept of a blimp powered by four helicopters which they did test on a Nova special
    which crashed and I think a couple of people died as a result of it then it would be
    the same book.

  • se jones

    “America’s Space Vehicles” A Pictorial Review by Will Eisner & tech editor Charles Kramer, Sterling publishing NY.

    One of my prized possessions. Chock full of great renderings and photos of contractor models including the complete Nova Direct mission.

  • Rick

    there was one that was all about paper models of rockets and satellites. I had built the “space telescope” that was similar to what eventually flew as Hubble. Now that my skills have improved I’d like to find it again but Google or Amazon have come up empty. Another one I’m trying to find was one that told how to make working (well they move under their own power barely) steam engines from tin cans using tools no more advanced than solder and a butane torch,powered by alcohol wick burners to turn tap water into steam for a few seconds. dangerous I bet but the tolerances would guarantee pressures stayed low.