Space junkies and armchair astronauts will dig this handy reference covering the heritage of the Space Race. Photographs and statistics for launch vehicles, orbiters, probes, and experimental equipment are featured in each equipment-specific reference. Covering such design elements as propellants, tanks, engines, and payloads, this detailed book is a closeup look at the mechanism that gets it all started. Describes 259 types of launch vehicles developed by China, the European Space Agency, Japan, Russia, and the United States. A total of 259 types of launch vehicles have been launched into space by the United States (165), Russia (54), China (14), Japan (14) and the European Space Agency (ESA) (12)! Propellants, Tanks, Engines, and Payloads are just a few of the elements that are listed for each of these Launch Vehicles. Learn how these most complex and awe inspiring machines actually work and why they call anything that is difficult to achieve "Rocket Science".