In addition to the sources cited in Part I for particular engineering aspects of planetary landers, and in Parts II and III for particular missions, we present below a selection of books and other sources that the reader might find useful.


For detailed presentation of spacecraft and mission design, there are various texts available. All are good, but none are completely satisfactory in terms of covering all aspects in an up-to-date manner.

Andreyanov, V. V., Artamonov, V. V., Atmanov, I. T. et al., Avtomaticheskiye Planetnyye Stantsii (Automatic Planetary Stations). Nauka, Moscow, 1973. English translation available: NASA TT-F-15666, 1974.

Although out of date scientifically and to some extent technologically, this book does cover some of the subsystems aspects of planetary landers, including thermal and structural, and in considerable mathematical detail.

Bazhenov, V. I. and Osin, M. I. Posadka Kosmicheskikh Apparatov na Planety (The Landing of Spacecraft on the Planets, or Space-vehicle Landings on Planets). Mashinostroenie, Moscow, 1978.

Focuses on atmospheric entry dynamics and, in greater detail, landing dynamics, with both mathematical detail and discussion of sub-scale drop tests.

Brown, C.D. Spacecraft Mission Design. 2nd edn, AIAA, Washington DC, 1998.

This text offers clear information and design guidance on the sub-systems of generic spacecraft, with many examples from actual missions and extant hardware. Its scope avoids discussion of entry and landing systems. Contains set problems after each chapter.

Brown, C.D. Elements of Spacecraft Design, AIAA, Washington DC, 2002.

Good overall, and excellent on astrodynamics and propulsion (including interplanetary). Has example problems. Does not cover aerothermodynamics.

Corliss, W. R. Space Probes and Planetary Exploration. Van Nostrand, 1965.

Written in the early years of the Space Race, and somewhat dated as a result, this wonderfully detailed book gives an overview of the state-of-the-art of planetary exploration technology, as it was in 1965. It covers American projects almost exclusively, but does so with impressive breadth and is still of interest to this day. Contains many hard-to-find photographs and diagrams.

Cruise, A. M., Bowles, J. A., Patrick, T. J. and Goodall, C. V. Principles of Space Instrument Design. Cambridge Aerospace Series no. 9. Cambridge University Press, 1998.

As the title suggests, not a text on spacecraft overall but devoted to instrumentation engineering. Has excellent detail on thermal, mechanical and electronic design, and mechanisms for space.

Fortescue, P., Stark, J. and Swinerd, G. Spacecraft Systems Engineering. 3rd edn, Wiley, 2003.

Written in Europe, offers a usefully different perspective from most texts, citing ESA engineering standards and example spacecraft. Covers re-entry aerodynamics and aero-thermodynamics.

Gilmore, D. G. Spacecraft Thermal Control Handbook: Fundamental Technologies. 2nd edn, Aerospace Press, 2002.

This book covers spacecraft thermal design, technologies and analysis, including some material on interplanetary spacecraft.

Griffin, M. D. and French, J. R. Space Vehicle Design. 2nd edn, AIAA Education Series, AIAA, Washington DC, 2004.

A good overall spacecraft design text (originally written over a decade before the first author became the NASA Administrator!), shorter than most of the others, but includes discussion on configuration design and re-entry.

Gurzadayan, G. A. Theory of Interplanetary Flights. Gordon and Breach, 1996.

This text covers orbital dynamics including transfer trajectories to the Moon and planets.

Hankey, W. L. Re-entry Aerodynamics. AIAA Education Series, AIAA, Washington DC, 1988.

Covers much of the background theory for atmospheric entry well, but lacks recent (post 1975) information for TPS systems and non-terrestrial atmosphere chemistries. Provides set problems but uses Imperial ('English') units exclusively, which for aero-thermodynamic problems are particularly ugly.

Kemble, S. (2006). Interplanetary Mission Analysis and Design. Springer-Praxis, Chichester. This book describes current mission analysis and design techniques that may be applied to a very wide range of interplanetary missions.

Kemurdzhian, A.L., Gromov, V. V., Kazhukalo, I.F., et al. Planetokhody (Planet Rovers) (in Russian). 2nd edn, Mashinostroenie, Moscow, 1993.

One of the very few books on planetary rovers, from the father of space robotics, Aleksandr Kemurdzhian.

Kemurdzhian, A.L. (ed.). Peredvizhenie po Gruntam Luny i Planet (Transport over Lunar and Planetary Soils) (in Russian.) Mashinostroenie, Moscow, 1986.

This books covers the soil mechanics aspects of planetary rovers.

Labunsky, A. V., Papkov, O. V. and Sukhanov, K. G. Multiple Gravity Assist Interplanetary Trajectories. Gordon and Breach, 1998.

Addresses the important but complex topic of interplanetary transfers using multiple gravity assists.

Martínez Pillet, V., Aparicio, A. and Sánchez, F. (eds) (2005). Payload and Mission Definition in Space Sciences. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Includes chapters on ESA mission programmatics, interplanetary trajectories and planetary instrumentation.

Meyer, R. X. Elements of Space Technology. Academic Press, 1999.

A general textbook on space technology.

Patel, M. R. Spacecraft Power Systems. CRC Press, 2004.

One of the few books covering spacecraft power.

Popov, E. I. Spuskaemyie Apparaty (Descent Apparatus) (in Russian). Znanie, Moscow, 1985.

A short, non-mathematical book on entry and descent probes with particular attention to Soviet/Russian examples. Available online at biblioteka.htm.

Pisacane, V. L. (ed.) Fundamentals of Space Systems. 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, 2005.

Covers a wide range of general spacecraft engineering topics.

Regan, F. J. and Anandakrishnan, S. M. Dynamics of Atmospheric Re-Entry. AIAA Education Series, AIAA, Washington DC, 1993.

Covers many aspects of atmospheric entry, although focussing on the terrestrial case. Some four times larger than Hankey's book on re-entry in the same series.

Roy, A. E. Orbital Motion. 4th edn, Institute of Physics, London, 2004.

A solid introduction to orbital theory, written to a graduate level but introduces topics such as numerical integration methods and Hamiltonian techniques. Each chapter contains worked problems.

Wertz, J. R. and Larson, W. J., Space Mission Analysis and Design. 3rd edn, Microcosm/Kluwer, 1999.

Very strong on system engineering aspects such as defining requirements and budgets (including those for often-ignored topics such as operations, attitude errors and computing). No discussion of interplanetary trajectories or aerothermodynamics.

Missions, Technologies and Design of Planetary Mobile Vehicles. Proceedings of the CNES conference, Toulouse, September 1992. Cápadues Editions, 1993.

Somewhat out of date in terms of robotic control and autonomy, but an excellent overview of activity at the time, and of earlier work.

For communications, the book series Deep Space Communications and Navigation, published by John Wiley & Sons, is worth consulting. The full text of nine monographs in this series is currently available online at

A series of annual international workshops on planetary probes began in Lisbon in 2003. The proceedings are an excellent source of up-to-date information; the following are for the first three:

Wilson, A. (ed.). Proceedings of the International Workshop on Planetary Probe Atmospheric Entry and Descent Trajectory Analysis and Science, Lisbon, 6-9 October 2003. ESA SP-544, European Space Agency, 2004.

Proceedings of the 2nd International Planetary Probe Workshop, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, August 2004. Edited by E. Venkatapathy et al. NASA /CP-2004-213456, 2005.

Proceedings of the 3rd International Planetary Probe Workshop, Attica, Greece, 27 June-1 July 2005, published as ESA SP-???, 2006.


Bakich, M.E. The Cambridge Planetary Handbook. Cambridge University Press,


A reference book giving basic data for bodies of the Solar System.

Lodders, K. and Fegley, B. The Planetary Scientist's Companion. Oxford University Press, 1998.

A compact book of facts and figures about the main bodies of the Solar System, including details such as atmosphere profiles, and providing copious references. Emphasizes geochemistry but steps around fields such as planetary magnetospheres.

Moroz, V. I., Huntress, W. T. and Shevalev, I. L. Planetary Missions of the 20th Century. Kosmich. Issled. 40(5), 451-481. Translated in Cosmic Res. 40(5), 419-445, 2002.

This journal paper is a good, accurate and concise summary of previous planetary missions, covering both failed and successful missions.

Siddiqi, A. A. Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000. Monographs in Aerospace History Volume 24. NASA SP-2002-4524. NASA, Washington, 2002.

Available online from, this volume is a handy reference work, containing brief information for Solar System missions.

Sadly this highly specific work is no longer in print. It details the time, location and orbital data of every known major rocket launch from the Earth; an unparalleled resource.

Wilson, A. Solar System Log, Janes, 1987.

An indispensable compendium of details on planetary probes up to 1986. A rich source of facts, figures and photographs, this slim and hard-to-find work is, however, frustratingly devoid of references. Nevertheless, an important and fascinating text.

Winterbottom and Perry. DRA Table of Space Vehicles 1958-1991. DRA, Farnborough, 1993.

Tabulated data of lunar and planetary launches.

Planetary sciences

Cherkasov, I.I. and Shvarev, V. V. Gruntovedenie Luny (Lunar Soil Science) (in Russian). Nauka, Moscow, 1979.

A hard-to-find book in Russian covering many aspects of the study of lunar regolith mechanical properties through to the end of the Apollo/Luna era, including both in situ instrumentation and laboratory analysis of samples.

Heiken, G. H., Vaniman, D. T. and French, B. M. (eds.). Lunar Sourcebook - A User's Guide to the Moon. Cambridge University Press, 1991.

A detailed summary of scientific results from (especially) Apollo on the lunar environment and the properties of lunar surface material, offering a good balance of explanatory material and mission data, with copious references.

Marov, M. Ya. and Grinspoon, D. H. The Planet Venus. Yale University Press, 1998.

A comprehensive and readable treatment of Venus exploration, emphasizing results from Soviet missions that are not as widely advertised in the West.

Surkov, Yu. A. Exploration of Terrestrial Planets from Spacecraft: Instrumentation, Investigation, Interpretation. 2nd. edn, Wiley-Praxis, Chichester, 1997.

A (somewhat dated and cursory) overview of planetary exploration that introduces a uniquely detailed discussion of X-ray, gamma-ray and mass spectrometer instrumentation for planetary spacecraft, with a welcome tendency to describe Soviet missions at length.

The University of Arizona Press has a long-running series of (massive) edited books on various Solar System bodies that often make a good starting point for further exploration of the literature. Continuing exploration by telescope observation and spacecraft has led to successive volumes (now on Comets II, Asteroids III, Venus II, etc.). Of particular note for Mars and Venus missions are the following:

Hunten, D.M., Colin, L., Donahue, T.M. and Moroz, V.I. (eds.) Venus. University of Arizona Press, 1983.

Kieffer, H.H., Jakosky, B.M., Snyder, C.W. and Matthews, M.S. (eds.) Mars. University of Arizona Press, 1993.


Johnson, N. L. Handbook of Soviet Lunar and Planetary Exploration. American Astronautical Society Science and Technology Series, 47. Univelt, 1979. For its time, this book provided an excellent digest of the Soviet literature that still stands up well.

Nicks, O. W. Far Travelers: The Exploring Machines. NASA SP-480, 1985.

An engineering-oriented view of the NASA robotic lunar and planetary missions through to Viking. Available online from

Pellinen, R. and Raudsepp, P. (eds.) Towards Mars! Oy Raud, 2000.

A colourful book looking at Martian science and missions, with good coverage of non-US missions. See also the update, Towards Mars! Extra, 2006.

Perminov, V. G. The Difficult Road to Mars: A Brief History of Mars Exploration in the Soviet Union. Monographs in Aerospace History, Number 15. NP-1999-06-251-HQ NASA, 1999.

A candid description of the spacecraft challenges faced by the Lavochkin bureau. Gives insight into the characters and methods of that time and contains many rare diagrams and photographs.

Petrov, G.I. (ed.) Conquest of Outer Space in the USSR 1967-1970. NASA TT-F-725, Amerind, 1973. Translation of Osvoenie Kosmicheskogo Prostranstva v SSSR, Nauka, Moscow, 1971.

Following on from Skuridin's book, this contains some details of missions in progress at the time.

Reeves, R., The Superpower Space Race: An Explosive Rivalry through the Solar System. Plenum Press, 1994.

An excellent, balanced and detailed narrative of robotic exploration of the Solar System.

Semenov, Yu. P. (ed.) RKK Energia im. S.P. Koroleva 1946-1996. RKK Energia, Moscow, 1996.

One of the best of the few sources of information on the activities of OKB-1. Lunar and planetary probes are only a small part of this large book.

Semenov, Yu.P. Rocket and Space Corporation Energia: The Legacy of S.P. Korolev. Energia, 1994. Translated edition, Apogee Books, 2001.

A source of rare photos and drawings of early lunar and planetary probes from OKB-1.

Serebrennikov, et al. (eds.). NPO im. S.A. Lavochkina. Na Zemle, v Nebe i v Kosmose. Voennyi Parad, Moscow, 1997.

In-house publication on the activities of NPO Lavochkin.

Siddiqi, A. A. Challenge to Apollo. NASA SP-2000-4408, 2000. Reprinted in two volumes as Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge and The Soviet Race with Apollo. University Press of Florida, 2003.

Skuridin, G. A. Mastery of Outer Space in the USSR, 1957-1967 (in Russian). Nauka, Moscow, 1971.

Overview of Soviet space activities of the period in the form of official news releases. Includes lunar and planetary efforts.

Ulivi, P. and Harland, D.M. Lunar Exploration: Human Pioneers and Robotic Surveyors. Springer-Praxis, Chichester, 2004.

Detailed, balanced and technically competent story of lunar exploration.

Some useful web sites

NASA Mars Programme:

ESA Science Programme:

National Space Science Data Centre Chronology of Lunar and Planetary


NASA Technical Reports Server:

NASA History:

Russian Space Web:

RKK Energia:

NPO Lavochkin:

Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences

Mark Wade's Encyclopedia Astronautica:

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