The machines that orbit our planet live in a void environment - however, space travel itself does not exist in a vacuum. Travelling to space is an immense effort of humans and machines, taking not just 'a small step for a man' but leaving a huge carbon footprint in the process. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift in which private companies and leadership figures in the form of billionaires are re-popularising space travel to an extent not seen since the space race between the USSR and USA. Space exists isolated from the place that births its mechanical and a few select human inhabitants. Thus, we tend to forget that every single thing that exits our atmosphere takes with it more than just its own weight of materials when it departs our fragile blue marble.
This title is the first of its kind: An atlas of all major sites where space rockets have been launched since the World's first Sputnik in 1958. On 272 pages, the author Brian Harvey and his co-author Gurbir Singh showcase the steps of space travel as they have never been presented before. Detailed maps allow deep insights to places which are restricted to the public. This book offers a unique look at the physical footprints of Earth's launch sites.
With most places hidden away in jungles, deserts, or amid the Central Asian steppes, these places exist for the most part out of the eye of the general public. With satellites facilitating our modern society and a modern space age ever-present in today's news cycle, it is now more important than ever to think about the imprint these undertakings leave on Earth. To begin to answer the new socio-economic
questions raised by our rapid expansion into the void, we need to look no further than the cracks in the concrete of our planetary launch sites. The rusty train tracks leading to the pads break the pristine and sterile look of space and reopen our eyes to the realities of space exploration.