|astronautix.com||About the Encylopedia Astronautica|
The Encyclopedia Astronautica is a proven and reliable reference source endorsed by the Encyclopedia Britannica, library associations, NASA, Internet guides, the New York and London Times, and leading space writers and historians. A list of their enthusiastic reviews and coments is provided below.
Mark Wade is the editor of the site and author of most of its unique content. Mark has been fascinated by space exploration since Sputnik was orbited. His interest in the history and technology of space flight is a hobby - his academic background is in archaeology and physical anthropology. Aside from the Encyclopedia Astronautica, his articles on space and rocketry topics have appeared in International Defence Review, Fliegerrevue, Spaceflight, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Modern Astronomer, and the HBO 'From the Earth to the Moon' web site.
Mark began collecting information on spacecraft and rockets in elementary school. This collection evolved over the years from paper to an Atari-based launch vehicle design program. This was followed by a Macintosh Hypercard stack on Soviet manned spaceflight. With the advent of the World Wide Web, it seemed that the perfect medium had arrived for sharing this information with the widest possible audience.
There were several motivations and inspirations for the site.
With the end of the Cold War, a lot of Russian language information became available on the rockets and space projects of the Soviet Union. Only a limited amount of this was being published in English, and then only in specialised publications. Through the site a wider audience can learn what 'really happened' in space during those years.
The site is also an experiment in integration of public-source data fully utilising the hyperlink approach at the core of the world wide web. The site is stored in an Access database, and the pages are generated using Visual Basic code. This allows the information to be mined and arranged in a variety of ways to address particular themes. Inspirations for this approach included the original Internet Movie Database and Apollo Lunar Surface Journal.
The site started as a modest Internet version of the Hypercard stack. In June 1996 it moved to its current location, as suggested by Dennis Newkirk and supported by Jennifer Green. Since then the site has grown from a few dozen pages and images to over 7,000 pages and 4,000 images. Visitors to the site have increased steadily and the home page alone gets over 30,000 visitors a month, with the one millionth visitor expected before the end of 2001. The server space for the site is provided by Friends and Partners in Space, a sub-group of Friends and Partners, devoted to Russian-American cultural and technical exchange. There are no commercial sponsors.
Unique content on the site includes articles on Soviet manned spacecraft, including military, lunar, and Mars projects that were developed but never successfully flew. The site features the only complete single reference source on or off the web for all launches to orbit; all spacecraft orbited; all astronauts and cosmonauts that flew in space or entered training; all launch vehicles used for orbital flights; and data on many projects, spacecraft and launch vehicle designs that were proposed or cancelled before development was complete.
Entries are constantly being expanded and updated. Contributions (articles, images) for the site are accepted, but contributors should check first and realise that no payment can be made (although credit is cheerfully provided). Major contributors to date include Jim Oberg (Russian space), Dietrich Haesler and Asif Siddiqi (Russian rocket engines), Ed Grondine (Chinese space), Richard Graf (gun-launched rocketry), Andre Bedard (solid propellants), Jonathon McDowell (launch and spacecraft images and data) and Alexander Zheleznyakov (cosmonauts and astronauts).