This book is featured in our Shoot for the Moon collection, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Visit to see more of the best on all things astronautical.
A NASA insider tells the exciting story of the people, some well-known but many unrecognized, who were responsible for so many daring space missions.
Award-winning science writer Rod Pyle profiles the remarkable pilots, scientists, and engineers whose work was instrumental in space missions to every corner of our solar system and beyond. Besides heralded names like Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, and Gene Kranz, the author highlights some of the "hidden figures" who played crucial roles in the success of NASA, Soviet, and international space exploration.
For example, Joe Engle, was a daring test pilot who set multiple records in the dangerous X-15 rocket plane and later commanded the space shuttle three times. John Houbolt was an engineer who convinced NASA leadership that the most effective way to land on the moon was to use a seemingly risky technique called "Lunar Orbit Rendezvous," which worried NASA planners but was the only way to make the landing possible by 1969. Margaret Hamilton was an accomplished mathematician and one of the first female software engineers to design programs for spaceflight software that proved critical to the success of the moon landing. John Casani was a brash young engineer who took over the struggling Voyager program to reconnoiter the outer planets at a time when success was far from certain. And Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to travel into space aboard Soviet spacecraft Vostok 6.
Complemented by many rarely-seen photos and illustrations, these stories of the highly talented and dedicated people, many of whom worked tirelessly behind the scenes, will fascinate and inspire.
""Outstanding . . . . Rod Pyle presents us with excellent information, new facts, and important behind-the-scenes contributions that combine to highlight the exciting era of space exploration and development. From well-known to lesser-known missions, from the most familiar names to unsung heroes, Pyle shows us crucial parts of our space history and illuminates those who helped make it happen. This is a must-read book and a valuable reference for your library." --Dr. David Livingston, host, The Space Show "Pyle takes us deep into the world of early space exploration, opening windows not only into the lives of well-known players, but into those of a few lesser-known yet crucial contributors as well. Perfect for those who think they've heard everything there is on the subject. A great read from the first page to the last." --George D. Morgan, author of Rocket Girl: The Story of Mary Sherman Morgan, America's First Female Rocket Scientist "Offers entertaining and enlightening accounts of some of those who sought to leave Earth during the space race of the 1960s. Pyle focuses on a number of well-known individuals--Yuri Gagarin, John Glenn, Valentina Tereshkova, Gene Kranz, Margaret Hamilton, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Pete Conrad--and tells their stories with unique insight. He opens a window on their personalities, quirks, and desires, offering scintillating portraits of some of the towering figures who pushed back the frontier of space." --Roger D. Launius, former chief historian of NASA "The names in this book might be familiar, but Pyle illuminates each figure with such a detailed backstory that even the most fervent space fan will see these remarkable men and women in a whole new light." --Amy Shira Teitel, author of Breaking the Chains of Gravity "Nothing great has ever been accomplished without courage. In Heroes of the Space Age, Pyle tells the grand tales of some of those who supplied what it took to open the space frontier. These are stories well worth taking to heart if we hope to go further." --Robert Zubrin, author of The Case for Space and president of Pioneer Astronautics