The Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space

The Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space, Book Cover
Originally from Oryz Press, February 2000 now ABC-CLIO Publishing.
"Useful to space buffs and generalists, comprehensive but readable, Bob Zimmerman's Encyclopedia belongs front and center on everyone's bookshelf." --Mike Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut
"Once I picked it up I couldn't put it down. It certainly deserves the name of Encyclopedia--complete, accurate and vividly interesting." --Ben Bova, science fiction writer
"If you want to know about every spacecraft ever launched and what each mission accomplished, this handy reference volume from a frequent Astronomy contributor. . .is just for you." --Astronomy
"Zimmerman, an essayist and historian of space, has created an essential tool for 'space junkies' and the libraries that serve them. . . . Not only is the book useful for quick fact checks but it invites readers to stay awhile. There are entries for every space mission that has been undertaken by every country on Earth--not just manned missions but the launches of probes, communications and navigation satellites, and commercial ventures as well. If humans launched it into space, you can read about it here. . . . The Chronological Encyclopedia is the product of painstaking research and clearly conveys a sense of how far humans have progressed in their knowledge of space." --Booklist
"The Chronological Encylopedia of Discoveries in Space is no passionless compendium of information. Robert Zimmerman's fact-filled reports, which cover virtually every spacecraft or probe to have ventured into the heavens, relate the scientific and technical adventure of space exploration enthusiastically and with authority." -- American Scientist
From Gemini to the Space Shuttle, from the private sectors' first rocket launches to the efforts of nations around the world to touch the outer atmospheres, you'll engage in an historical perspective that is fresh, incredibly detailed and most importantly--objective. . . .The discoveries made by each mission are placed in historic context by cross-referencing each mission so that the reader can follow the gradual unfolding of knowledge over time. As you turn the pages, you realize how vast mankind's efforts have truly been in the past 50 years. -- Destination Space (read the full review)
"A highly recomended reference resource." -- Spaceflight
"This reference book goes beyond simply listing mission dates and objectives; the author extends his presentation to include the scientific discoveries of each mission and their relevance to society. . . .The volume proves to be a useful tool in examining the historical significance and impact of space exploration on science as we know it. Its logical and sequential presentation of every launch worldwide would be an asset to teachers trying to put a global face on not just the space race but also on the vast gains in our understanding of the final frontier." --National Science Teachers Association
"This is a very impressive reference work, and highly recommended." --E-Streams
"An excellent source, worthwhile for all libraries." --Choice Magazine
"This monumental tome gathers together for the first time in one book a chronological catalog of . . . space missions. . . There is no comparable source to this volume for its comprehensiveness and conciseness. Every school library should get a copy." --Science Book & Fiction
"In this unusually informative and thorough work, the author gathers into one source the scattered and remote information about space missions, so those searching for this information may spend less time gathering it themselves. . . . Valuable to all collections that need to support space exploration information questions." -- The Book Report


  • Jay Nawrocki

    Is an update to this book being prepared that covers 2000 to 2016?

  • Jay Nawrocki asked, “Is an update to this book being prepared that covers 2000 to 2016?”

    Unfortunately, not at this time. While my Chronological Encyclopedia does end in December 1999, it does provide a complete and detailed history of everything that was accomplished in space during entire last half of the 20th century, thus making it the best historical and science reference for the beginnings of the space age.

  • Andi

    Can I buy a pdf of this book? I would love to read it, but I am trying to reduce the vast amounts of paper I have accumulated over the years.

    Incidentally, my father was instrumental in the meteorological satellite program, and was the one primarily responsible for the TIROS and NIMBUS series of weather satellites. He took me to the launch of Tiros 1 on April 1, 1960 – fortunately the date did not jinx the mission!

  • Andi: Sorry but the Encyclopedia was only published as a hardback. No ebook version exists.

  • wayne

    Great historical Tale!
    -I bought the Encyclopedia for my g-daughter, go for it!

  • Andi

    Thanks, Wayne!

    It was really quite something in those days. The launch would go off, and everyone would watch as the rocket disappeared into the sky. Then the wait began… and tension would rise as everyone waited apprehensively for confirmation that the satellite made orbit – which wouldn’t occur until a downrange station (in Africa I think) picked up the telemetry signal some 15 minutes later. Then a big mutual sigh of relief, often accompanied by boisterous cheering!

  • You say there are 4 copies of the Encyclopedia left. I want one. I looked here but couldn’t find it. I looked at your publisher’s site and it wasn’t there either. How do I procure a copy?

  • Brian Lloyd: If you go to the home page of Behind the Black, you will see a box at the top of the page, with detailed instructions for buying one of the last four copies of the Chronological Encyclopedia. However, I will add them here: To get your own autographed copy of this now rare collector’s item, please send a $120 check (which includes shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to

    Behind The Black, c/o Robert Zimmerman
    P.O.Box 1262
    Cortaro, AZ 85652

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