Today I handed in the first draft of Rocketeers, my forthcoming book on commercial spaceflight. All 117,007 words of it, including endnotes. That’s 389 manuscript pages, for those of you who don’t get paid by the word. Or, probably about 320 pages in the published book.

Getting the manuscript in to my editor at Smithsonian Books today puts me right on schedule for the planned July 31, 2007 publication date. Just in time to take a little breather for the holidays, too.

Once I get my editor’s feedback, I’ll have to get cracking on rewrites and fact checking. And gathering photos for the photo spread, which will be in full color, I’m happy to report. And putting together an index.

Still a lot of work to be done, but the biggest chunk of it is behind me–three years of research and a year of writing. Whew!

Here’s an updated chapter list:

Foreword (by a celebrity)
Prologue: Full Circle (origins of the book)
Chapter 1: Space or Bust (the X Prize)
Chapter 2: Go! (X Prize competitors)
Chapter 3: The Homebuilt Spaceship (SpaceShipOne)
Chapter 4: SpaceShipOne, Government Zero (winning the X Prize)
Chapter 5: NASA Hitches a Ride (X Prize aftermath)
Chapter 6: The 200G Roller Coaster (first commercial spacelines)
Chapter 7: Orbit on a Shoestring (SpaceX)
Chapter 8: Budget Suites of Outer Space (Bigelow Aerospace)
Chapter 9: Spaceport! (spaceports)
Chapter 10: The Sky’s No Limit (the future)
End notes