Book Review: A Dictionary of the Space Age

A Dictionary of the Space Age is a great tool for space buffs that want to learn more about the inner workings of space flight. Image Credit: Book cover courtesy of Johns Hopkins University Press. Shuttle photo courtesy of Alan Walters/

Yes, it is hard to mess up a simple dictionary, even one with terminology as complicated as that which is used within the aerospace industry. However, to have it all compiled together in a single tome is very useful. A Dictionary of the Space Age meets the requirement easily while at the same time filling a much needed role – that of translator.

When normal folks, even space enthusiasts watch launches and other space-related events (EVAs, dockings, landings and such) there is so much jargon used that it is extremely difficult to follow. With this book on hand, one can simply thumb through and find out exactly what is being said, making it both easier to follow along and making the endeavor being witnessed far more inclusive. This is what understanding the event allows and this is what A Dictionary of the Space Age offers.

The book is published by The Johns Hopkins University Press and was compiled and written by aerospace expert Paul Dickson. One can purchase the book on the secondary market ( for around $12 (new for around $25). The dictionary also has a Kindle edition which is available for $37.76. Dickson’s previous works on space flight is Sputnik: The Shock of the Century.

Kindle edition. Art by Jim Hillhouse

Weighing in at 288 pages, the book is also concise covering the primary terms used within the space community. Or you can buy the Kindle edition, which weighs nothing. In short, if you are interested in learning more about space flight – or wish to do so – this is a must have book for you.

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