Synopses & Reviews
Rewind to the 1950s and ponder: was Americaand#8217;s first satellite really built by a college student? How did a small band of underappreciated Russian engineers get pictures of the moonand#8217;s far sideand#8212;using stolen American film? As the 1960s progressed, consider: how the heck did people learn to steer a spacecraft using nothing but gravity? And just how were humans able to goose a spaceship through a thirty-year journey to the literal edge of our solar system?and#160;Ambassadors from Earth relates the story of the first unmanned space probes and planetary explorersand#8212;from the Sputnik and Explorer satellites launched in the late 1950s to the thrilling interstellar Voyager missions of the '70sand#8212;that yielded some of the most celebrated successes and spectacular failures of the space age. Keep in mind that our first mad scrambles to reach orbit, the moon, and the planets were littered with enough histrionics and cliffhanging turmoil to rival the most far-out sci-fi film. Utilizing original interviews with key players, bolstered by never-before-seen photographs, journal excerpts, and primary source documents, Jay Gallentine delivers a quirky and unforgettable look at the lives and legacy of the Americans and Soviets who conceived, built, and guided those unmanned missions to the planets and beyond. Of special note is his in-depth interview with James Van Allen, the discoverer of the rings of planetary radiation that now bear his name.and#160;Ambassadors from Earth is an engaging bumper-car ride through a fog of head-banging uncertainty, bleeding-edge technology, personality clashes, organizational frustrations, brutal schedules, and the occasional bright spot. Confessed one participant, and#8220;We were making it up as we went along.and#8221;
Ambassadors from Earth
reminds us that our first mad scrambles to reach orbit, the moon, and the planets were littered with enough histrionics and cliff-hanging turmoil to rival the most far-out sci-fi film. But it all really happened!
Drawing on original interviews with key players and bolstered by previously unpublished photographs, journal excerpts, and primary source documents, Jay Gallentine delivers a quirky and unforgettable look at the lives and legacy of the people who conceived, built, and guided our first unmanned spacecraft and planetary probes. From the Sputnik and Explorer satellites of the late 1950s, to the thrilling Voyager and#8220;Grand Tourand#8221; of the and#8217;70s and and#8217;80s, they yielded some of the most celebrated successes and spectacular failures of the space age.
Confessed one participant, and#8220;We were making it up as we went along.and#8221;
Gallentine fearlessly clambers to the bottom of a surprisingly bitter controversy over who first developed the technique of using gravity to steer a spacecraft. Also of special note are his candid discussions with James Van Allen, the discoverer of the rings of planetary radiation that now bear his name.
It was a time of bold new technology, historic moments, and international jousting on the final frontier. But it was also a time of human drama, of moments less public but no less dramatic in the lives of those who made the golden age of space flight happen. These are the moments and the lives that Into That Silent Sea captures, a book that tells the intimate stories of the men and women, American and Russian, who made the space race their own and gave the era its compelling character.and#160;These pages chronicle a varied and riveting cavalcade of human stories, including a look at Yuri Gagarinand#8217;s harrowing childhood in war-ravaged Russia and Alan Shepardand#8217;s firm purchase on the American dream. It also examines the controversial career of cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, and the remarkable struggle and ultimate disappointment of her American counterparts. It tries to uncover the truth behind the allegations that shadowed Gus Grissom and Scott Carpenter and then allows the reader to share the heart-stopping suspense of Alexei Leonovand#8217;s near-fatal first space walk. Through dozens of interviews and access to Russian and American official documents and family records, the authors bring to life the experiences that shaped the lives of the first astronauts and cosmonauts and forever changed their world and ours.and#160;
About the Author
Francis French is the director of education at the San Diego Air and Space Museum and the coauthor with Colin Burgess of In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965and#8211;1969 (Nebraska 2007).and#160;Colin Burgess is a former flight service director with Qantas Airlines and the author of many books on spaceflight, including Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon, available in a Bison Books edition.and#160;A NASAand#160;public affairs officer from 1958 to 1969, Paul Haney was known widely as NASAand#8217;s and#8220;voice of mission control.and#8221;