“The Basics of Space Flight,” a popular, longtime
Internet offering that teaches the essentials of operating
interplanetary spacecraft missions, has been updated and is
now available, courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, Calif., at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/basics .

The self-teaching guide, created by JPL spacecraft
operations engineer David Doody, was originally created almost
a decade ago to help JPL spacecraft operators understand the
concepts of and relationships between various specialized
elements of a space mission, such as spacecraft engineering,
mission design, launch and telecommunications. Since then,
“Basics of Space Flight” has engendered broad appeal inside
and outside of NASA for aerospace professionals and armchair
space explorers alike. It also enjoys growing popularity among
high school and college students and faculty.

“Our purpose was to cover the broad range of all subject
matter that plays into robotic spaceflight,” said Doody. “It
covers broadly, but not deeply, all the elements of a robotic
space mission. Any one of the topics we touch on could
involve a lifetime of specialization.” Doody said he drew
upon contributions from experts in different fields at JPL and
numerous other institutions.

The module, unavailable in printed form, is intended to
be used online via the World Wide Web. Interactive quizzes
provide users with a measurement of their progress.

“Basics of Spaceflight” was created by Doody for JPL’s
Telecommunications and Mission Operations Directorate under
NASA’s Office of Space Science. JPL is a division of the
California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.