David S. F. Portree - Spaceflight History

David S. F. Portree - Spaceflight History

Creating spaceflight history blog posts, books, and outreach projects




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About David S. F. Portree - Spaceflight History

I write about the history of spaceflight with an emphasis on mission and program planning. It's a field I've studied since the 1970s and have written about since the 1980s. It's real history, but sometimes it reads like carefully wrought science fiction. That's one of the things I like about it.

The way I see planning, it's a part of the spaceflight story that isn't usually told. Most spaceflight history focuses on flown missions and programs, but they are not typical — the great majority of the missions and programs we have conceived have remained conceptual. We do not live in the best of all possible worlds, but by knowing what we might have achieved we can shape new dreams.

My first spaceflight planning history website, launched in 1996, was called Romance to Reality: Moon & Mars Plans. At the time, its subject matter was unique. I replaced that in 2009 with a blog called Beyond Apollo, which sought to take in the entirety of spaceflight mission and program planning. From 2012 to 2015, Beyond Apollo was a WIRED Science Blog. From 2015 until 2020, my blog was called DSFP's Spaceflight History. In 2018 the U.S. Library of Congress declared it to be notable and archived it. Now I call my blog No Shortage of Dreams.

Though most of my writing in this field has seen the light of day through websites and blogs, magazines like Air & Space Smithsonian and Astronomy have carried my byline. In 2001, NASA published my book Humans to Mars: Fifty Years of Mission Planning, 1950-2000. It has become an important planning document in its own right. You can download it for free by clicking on the link in my blog's sidebar. 

You can help me to continue to preserve and promote spaceflight planning history by becoming my Patreon patron. Pledge any monthly amount you can. In return, I'll give you occasional new detailed posts on No Shortage of Dreams and almost daily patron-only Patreon posts — now including The Sunday Space Brochure, a weekly look at more than half a century of historic space agency and contractor public information publications. 

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