Friday, March 12, 2010

Space Base (1972)

Freeman, Mae B. Illustrated by Mora, Raul Mina. Space Base. New York : Watts. (63 p.)

Although the paintings are reproduced in black and white, Space Base is another of those remembered books. After the moonlandings the next step seemed to be a space station. Surprisingly this is one of the few books about that possible next step.

The book is a story about a child visiting a space station and learning about the construction and use of space stations. I like how the delta-winged ship and the circular station are combined.

The text gives a complete basic description of how the station would be constructed, what power sources they would use, and what life on a space station would be like.

The best part is the many full page illustrations of the exterior and interior of an imaginary circular space station. In some ways this is the last non-fiction book about circular space stations. After this they appear only in fiction.

I like also how the Apollo modules suggest how this station would be used as a transfer point. Of course that ship makes no sense as a trans-lunar vessel since the re-entry capsule is unneccessary (plus it makes for cramped travel).
On the other hand I always though of space travel as a kid's ride. Zero-G vacations anyone?


  1. Those are some terrific images, John (drool drool)! The author is of course the Mae Freeman of Mae & Ira Freeman fame, whose best-known work I imagine all of here have seared into our brains. I wonder what ratio of Mae's output was done with Ira.

    As for this being the swan song for circular space stations, although 1972 was indeed fairly late for them, the doughnut style did get a big boost four years earlier with 2001: A Space Odyssey; then again, Skylab was a year away. (Perhaps those Apollo CSMs are leftovers for Skylab!)

    -- Michael S.

  2. Fabulous artwork John! The delta-wing is totally reminiscent of the front cab of the Nuclear Ferry, famously painted by Robert McCall in his Earth to Moon Shuttle oil painting 1964. It appeared in LIFE as a centre-page spread and bacame a Century 21 toy in 1967. Do you think the originals of Paul M.Mora's pictures were in colour? Wonder if they appeared in colour anywhere else? As always, beautiful stuff John.

    Paul Woods, Yorkshire, UK