In this spellbinding account of an historic but troubled orbital mission, noted space historian Colin Burgess takes us back to an electrifying time in American history, when intrepid pioneers were launched atop notoriously unreliable rockets at the very dawn of human space exploration.A nation proudly and collectively came to a standstill on the day this mission flew; a day that will be forever enshrined in American spaceflight history. On the morning of February 20, 1962, following months of frustrating delays, a Marine Corps war hero and test pilot named John Glenn finally blazed a path into orbit aboard a compact capsule named Friendship 7.The book's tension-filled narrative faithfully unfolds through contemporary reports and the personal recollections of astronaut John Glenn, along with those closest to the Friendship 7 story, revealing previously unknown facts behind one of America's most ambitious and memorable pioneering space missions.Friendship 7.The book's tension-filled narrative faithfully unfolds through contemporary reports and the personal recollections of astronaut John Glenn, along with those closest to the Friendship 7 story, revealing previously unknown facts behind one of America's most ambitious and memorable pioneering space missions.Friendship 7 story, revealing previously unknown facts behind one of America's most ambitious and memorable pioneering space missions.
This book celebrates the final spaceflight in the Mercury series, flown by NASA astronaut Gordon Cooper, who led an adventurous life in the cockpit of airplanes and spacecraft alike, and on his Mercury mission he became the last American ever to rocket into space alone. He flew in the Mercury and Gemini programs and served as head of flight crew operations in both the Apollo and Skylab programs. Based on extensive research and first-person interviews, this is a complete history of the Faith 7 flight and its astronaut. Cooper later gained notoriety following the release of the movie, The Right Stuff, in which he was depicted by Dennis Quaid, but Burgess discovers there was even more drama to his story. It completes the "Pioneers in Early Spaceflight" subseries in fitting fashion.
TO A NATION enthralled by the heroic exploits of the Mercury astronauts, the launch of Lt. Cmdr. Scott Carpenter on NASA's second orbital space flight was a renewed cause for pride, jubilation and celebration. Within hours, that excitement had given way to stunned disbelief and anxiety as shaken broadcasters began preparing the American public for the very real possibility that an American astronaut and his spacecraft may have been lost at sea.In fact, it had been a very close call. Completely out of fuel and forced to manually guide Aurora 7 through the frightening inferno of re-entry, Carpenter brought the Mercury spacecraft down to a safe splashdown in the ocean. In doing so, he controversially overshot the intended landing zone. Despite his efforts, Carpenter's performance on the MA-7 mission was later derided by powerful figures within NASA. He would never fly into space again. Taking temporary leave of NASA, Carpenter participated in the U.S. Navy's pioneering Sealab program. For a record 30 days he lived and worked aboard a pressurized habitat resting on the floor of the ocean, becoming the nation's first astronaut/aquanaut explorer.Following extensive research conducted by noted spaceflight historian Colin Burgess, the drama-filled flight of Aurora 7 is faithfully recounted in this engrossing book, along with the personal recollections of Scott Carpenter and those closest to the actual events.
Colin Burgess offers a comprehensive yet personal look at the 1962 orbital mission of Wally Schirra aboard the spacecraft Sigma 7, the first book about this popular pioneering astronaut which explores his entire life and accomplishments. This continues the Pioneers in Early Spaceflight series, the volumes of which form an excellent record of Project Mercury's pioneering early phase of the Space Age. Schirra's pre-NASA life is examined, as well as his training as a NASA astronaut and for his Mercury MA-8 flight. The 6-orbit flight of Sigma 7 is fully covered from its origins through to the spacecraft's safe recovery from the ocean after a highly successful Mercury mission. Schirra's participation on the Gemini 6 and Apollo 7 missions is also told, but in brief, and the book also relates his post-NASA life and activities through to his passing in 2007. The Mercury Seven occupy a unique spot in the history of human spaceflight, and Schirra is at last given his due as one of the contributing astronauts in this painstakingly researched book.
Inevitably, there are times in a nation's history when its hopes, fears and con?dence in its own destiny appear to hinge on the fate of a single person. One of these pivotal moments occurred on the early morning of May 5, 1961, when a 37-year-old test pilot squeezed himself into the con?nes of the tiny Mercury spacecraft that he had named Freedom 7. On that historic day, U.S. Navy Commander Alan Shepard carried with him the hopes, prayers, and anxieties of a nation as his Redstone rocket blasted free of the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, hurling him upwards on a 15-minute suborbital ?ight that also propelled the United States into the bold new frontier of human space exploration.This book tells the enthralling story of that pioeering ?ight as recalled by many of the participants in the Freedom 7 story, including Shepard himself, with anecdotal details and tales never before revealed in print.Although beaten into space just three weeks earlier by the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shepard's history-making mission aboard Freedom 7 nevertheless provided America's ?rst tentative step into space that would one day see its Apollo astronauts - including Alan Shepard - walk on the Moon.
NASA's Mercury astronauts were seven highly skilled professional test pilots. Each of them seemed to possess the strength of character and commitment necessary to overcome apparently insurmountable obstacles as the United States entered into a Cold War space race with the Soviet Union. This was never more evident than on the epic suborbital MR-4 flight of Liberty Bell 7 with astronaut Virgil (`Gus') Grissom piloting the spacecraft to a successful splashdown, followed by the premature blowing of the craft's explosive hatch. After a hurried exit and struggling to stay afloat, he could only watch helplessly as the recovery helicopter pilot valiantly fought a losing battle to save the sinking capsule. That day NASA not only lost a spacecraft but came perilously close to losing one of its Mercury astronauts, a decorated Korean fighter pilot from Indiana who might one day have soared to the highest goal of them all, as the first person to set foot on the Moon. For the first time, many of those closest to the flight of Liberty Bell 7 and astronaut Gus Grissom offer their stories and opinions on the dramatic events of July 21, 1961, and his later pioneering Gemini mission. They also tell of an often controversial life cut tragically and horrifically short in a launch pad fire that shocked the nation.
Many readers will doubtless be astonished to learn that animals were being fired aloft in U.S. and Soviet research rockets in the late 1940s. In fact most people not only believe that the Russian space dog Laika was the first canine to be launched into space, but also that the high-profile, precursory Mercury flights of chimps Ham and Enos were the only primate flights conducted by the United States. In fact, both countries had sent literally dozens of animals aloft for many years prior to these events and continued to do so for many years after. Other latter-day space nations, such as France and China, would also begin to use animals in their own space research.
Animals in Space will explain why dogs, primates, mice and other rodents were chosen and tested, at a time when dedicated scientists from both space nations were determined to establish the survivability of human subjects on both ballistic and orbital space flights. It will also recount the way this happened; the secrecy involved and the methods employed, and offer an objective analysis of how the role of animals as spaceflight test subjects not only evolved, but subsequently changed over the years in response to a public outcry led by animal activists. It will explore the ways in which animal high-altitude and space flight research impacted on space flight biomedicine and technology, and how the results - both successful and disappointing - allowed human beings to then undertake that same hazardous journey with far greater understanding and confidence.
This book is intended as a detailed yet highly readable and balanced account of the history of animal space flights, and the resultant application of hard-won research to space technology and astrobiology. It will undoubtedly become the ultimate authority on animal space flights.
She was described as the most dangerous woman in Europe by Adolf Hitler; Noel Coward said people who spent any time with her were always reduced to 'gibbering worshippers'; she adored Margaret Thatcher and disliked Germans; she found the French comical and hankered for the old days of Empire and Commonwealth. Above all, though, she was loved by the nation and in this affectionate and often hilarious inside story of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, her former equerry Major Colin Burgess reveals what life was like living with the most private of all the Royals. "Behind Palace Doors" is a unique and warmly remembered historic insight into one of our longest-surviving institutions. Constantly fascinating and packed with previously untold stories, this is also a celebration of a life gone - and a way of life fast disappearing.
Resulting from the authors' deep research into these two pre-Shuttle astronaut groups, many intriguing and untold stories behind the selection process are revealed in the book. The often extraordinary backgrounds and personal ambitions of these skilled pilots, chosen to continue NASA's exploration and knowledge of the space frontier, are also examined.
In April 1966 NASA selected 19 pilot astronauts whose training was specifically targeted to the Apollo lunar landing missions and the Earth-orbiting Skylab space station. Three years later, following the sudden cancellation of the USAF's highly classified Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) project, seven military astronauts were also co-opted into NASA's space program.
This book represents the final chapter by the authors in the story of American astronaut selections prior to the era of the Space Shuttle. Through personal interviews and original NASA documentation, readers will also gain a true insight into a remarkable age of space travel as it unfolded in the late 1960s, and the men who flew those historic missions.
Unofficially they called themselves the TFNG, or the Thirty-Five New Guys. Officially, they were NASA's Group 8 astronauts, selected in January 1978 to train for orbital missions aboard the Space Shuttle. Prior to this time only pilots or scientists trained as pilots had been assigned to fly on America's spacecraft, but with the advent of the innovative winged spacecraft the door was finally opened to non-pilots, including women and minorities. In all, 15 of those selected were categorised as Pilot Astronauts, while the other 20 would train under the new designation of Mission Specialist. Altogether, the Group 8 astronauts would be launched on a total of 103 space missions; some flying only once, while others flew into orbit as many as five times. Sadly, four of their number would perish in the Challenger tragedy in January 1986.
In their latest collaborative effort, the authors bring to life the amazing story behind the selection of the first group of Space Shuttle astronauts, examining their varied backgrounds and many accomplishments in a fresh and accessible way through deep research and revealing interviews. Throughout its remarkable 30-year history as the workhorse of NASA's human spaceflight exploration, twice halted through tragedy, the Shuttle fleet performed with magnificence. So too did these 35 men and women, swept up in the dynamic thrust and ongoing development of America's Space Shuttle program.
"This book on the Group 8 Astronauts, the TFNGs, is an excellent summation of the individuals first selected for the new Space Shuttle Program. It provides insight into what it took to first get the Space Shuttle flying. For any space enthusiast it is a must read."
- Robert L. Crippen PLT on STS-1
"As a reader, I had many moments where long, lost memories of the triumph and tragedy of the space shuttle program were brilliantly reawakened at the turn of a page. Loved it! This is a must-have book for every space enthusiast's library."
- TFNG Mission Specialist Astronaut Richard `Mike' Mullane, author of Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut
"Many of the anecdotes in the book brought back memories of challenges, opportunities, and a team of men and women who were committed not just to the space program, but to one another...I've gone back to it several times as a reference source."
- TFNG Steve Hawley, 5-time Space Shuttle Mission Specialist Astronaut
"The TFNG book is incredible and amazingly thorough! The detail in the book is awesome! It is my go-to book for any of the details I've forgotten."
- TFNG Dr. Rhea Seddon, 3-time Space Shuttle Mission Specialist Astronaut.
"I can't believe how detailed and complete it is!!! FANTASTIC work!!!"
- TFNG Robert L."Hoot" Gibson, 5-time Space Shuttle Pilot & Commander and former Chief of the NASA Astronaut Office
Mounting pressure in the early 1960s from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to study ways of expanding the role of astronauts to conduct science on future space missions led to NASA's conclusion that flying scientifically trained crewmembers would generate greater returns from each mission. NASA and industry studies continued investigating possibilities that could lead to the eventual creation of the first space stations using surplus Apollo hardware, through the Apollo Applications Programme (AAP). There was also a growing interest within the military to create their own manned space station programme, conducting on-orbit experiments and research with strategic advantages for national security. In October 1964 the Soviets launched Voskhod 1 whose 3-man crew were identified as the first `scientific passengers' in space. A few days later NASA and the NAS had completed joint studies into the possibility of using scientists in the manned space programme, and invited scientists to apply for astronaut training. In selecting the first group of scientist-astronauts, NASA had one firm requirement; any person accepted into the programme would have to qualify as a military jet pilot. While the second group of scientists were completing their academic, survival and flight training programme, the remaining members of the first scientist-astronaut group were involved in supporting the developing Apollo Applications programme and the Apollo lunar programme.
This book focuses on the Interkosmos program, which was formed in 1967, marking a fundamentally new era of cooperation by socialist countries, led by the Soviet Union, in the study and exploration of space. The chapters shed light on the space program that was at that time a prime outlet for the Soviet Union's aims at becoming a world power. Interkosmos was a highly publicized Russian space program that rapidly became a significant propaganda tool for the Soviet Union in the waning years of communism. Billed as an international "research-cosmonaut" imperative, it was also a high-profile means of displaying solidarity with the nine participating Eastern bloc countries. Those countries contributed pilots who were trained in Moscow for week-long "guest" missions on orbiting Salyut stations. They did a little subsidiary science and were permitted only the most basic mechanical maneuvers.
In this enthralling new book, and following extensive international research, the authors fully explore the background, accomplishments and political legacy of the Interkosmos program. Through personal and often highly revealing interviews with many of the participants they relate the very human story behind this extraordinary but controversial space venture..