Sunday, November 27, 2016

Apogee Publishes New Book on "The Father of Canadian Astronautics"

          By Chuck Black

Collector's Guide (CG) Publishing, under its award winning Apogee Books imprint, has just released the second of two new books on notable, but until now mostly forgotten, Canadian space pioneers.

Author Robert Godwin with Colleen Lapp at the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) Toronto branch meeting at the University of Toronto Institute of Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) on November 24th, 2016. Godwin was in town to speak on the topic of "The Empire Strikes Out - The Commonwealth Space Program," and to promote his latest books. According to Godwin, Phil Lapp "embodied Canadian Space achievement" and even "put the space in CASI." Among other things, Lapp helped to found the Canadian Astronautical Society (CAS) in 1957, and then helped it merge with the Canadian Aeronautical Institute (CAI) to become CASI in 1962. For more on the Commonwealth space program, check out the July 20th, 2015 post, "Part 1 of The Empire Strikes Out - Canada's Defence & The Commonwealth Space Program," or subscribe to the Space Library. Photo c/o Chuck Black. Graphic c/o CG Publishing.

The book is called "The Father of Canadian Astronautics; The Life of Dr. Philip A. Lapp O.C.," and CG Publishing owner/ author Robert Godwin admits that he chose the title. "It would never occur to Phil to be so self-aggrandizing," Godwin said during a recent interview.

But Lapp did make a difference. As outlined in the book:
Working from within DeHaviland's newly formed missile division (beginning in the 1950's) Lapp immediately recognized the new world that was opening up in Sputnik's wake. 
Within a few weeks of that momentous event he organized a meeting of his fellow engineers to inaugurate a "Canadian Astronautical Society" at the De Haviland factory in Downsview, Ontario. This meeting heralded the birth of Canada's space program.  
Lapp also co-authored, along with John Chapman, P.A. Forsyth and G. N. Paterson, the 1967 report on "Upper Atmosphere and Space Programs in Canada." Known today as the "Chapman Report," it's generally considered to be "Canada's original blueprint" for space activities.

The book takes the reader on a journey from Lapp's beginnings in Toronto, through his contributions to the Avro Arrow, the Allouette 1 satellite, the birth of Direct-TV, the iconic Canadarm and RADARSAT, to the end of his life when he earned Canada's highest civilian award, the Order of Canada.

Colleen Lapp, Phil Lapp's widow, at UTIAS on November 24th, 2016. "I'm so happy to reconnect with some of my husband's old colleagues as a result of the publication of the book.  It's kinda been my baby since Phil died and I'm so happy to be able to help Rob (Godwin) and others to bring it to fruition," she said. Perhaps now, the completed book will help to give purpose to others. Photo c/o Chuck Black.

The second book, also written by Godwin, is "William Leitch; Presbyterian Scientist & the Concept of Rocket Space Flight 1854 - 1864."

Regular readers of this blog will recognize Leitch as the subject of previous articles, including the October 4th, 2015 post "Rocket Spaceflight Accurately Described by Scottish-Canadian Scientist in 1861," which describes Godwin's original paper on the topic, and the September 12th, 2016 post, "William Leitch: Presbyterian Scientist & the Concept of Rocket Spaceflight 1854-64," which described the steps leading up to the publication of the book in September 2016.

Understanding Leitch and Lapp, their history and the context surrounding those who came before us is always the first step in climbing upon their giant shoulders and building our own future.

We should learn more about them.

To facilitate that, both books are available on the CG Publishing website.
Chuck Black.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

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