Stories about the history of science and space fascinate me as much as the futuristic tales of humanity living and working out in space do. For anyone even remotely interested in the early and recent history of the successful and failed space exploration missions launched from this tiny planet of ours, this newest book by Rod Pyle is a gem.
Amazing Stories of the Space Age is a collection of detailed mission recaps, including investigations of missions gone wrong, and information about what problems were discovered by scientists and administrators in the aftermath. Manned orbital missions and moon shots, mistakes made that prematurely ended early Mars rovers, so many stories told in this volume are captivating reading, and I believe that other spaceflight aficionados will appreciate having this volume on their shelves.
Table of Contents:
- CHAPTER 1: Nazis in Space: Project Silverbird
- CHAPTER 2: Red Moon: Countering the Communist Threat on Earth and in Space
- CHAPTER 3: Das Marsprojekt: Red Planet Armada
- CHAPTER 4: Project Orion: We Come in Peace (With Nuclear Bombs!)
- CHAPTER 5: LUNEX: Earth in the Crosshairs
- CHAPTER 6: The Wheel: An Inflatable Space Station
- CHAPTER 7: Venusian Empire: NASA’s Mars/Venus Flyby Adventure
- CHAPTER 8: Blue Gemini: Weaponizing Orbit
- CHAPTER 9: Flirting with Death: The Terrifying Flight of Gemini 8
- CHAPTER 10: Manned Orbiting Laboratory: How to Design, Test, and Never Fly a Space Program
- CHAPTER 11: Apollo 11: Danger on the Moon
- CHAPTER 12: The First Space Shuttle: Project Dyna-Soar
- CHAPTER 13: Beyond the Edge of Space: The X-15B
- CHAPTER 14: The Sad, Strange Tale of Soyuz 1
- CHAPTER 15: The Turtlenauts
- CHAPTER 16: Falling to Earth: The Dangerous Science of Reentry
- CHAPTER 17: Funeral for a Viking: The End of Viking 1
- CHAPTER 18: Saving Skylab: Cowboys in Space
- CHAPTER 19: Near Misses: Danger Stalks the Space Shuttle
- CHAPTER 20: Showdown in Space: Firearms on the Moon
- CHAPTER 21: Buran: The Soviet Union’s One-Flight Wonder
- CHAPTER 22: Major Matt Mason: A Man for the New Space Age
For me, the most compelling stories are the ones about Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov and his doomed flight aboard Soyuz 1, the Red Planet project of von Braun’s, and the Mars lander, who’s mission was cut short by a typo sent from Earth. Every story included in this volume is written in an educational but engaging way, including personal as well as scientific details that bring each right and wrong move closer to home. Can you tell I would love to see this as an ongoing series with more volumes?
To have at one’s fingertips a collection of historical events that might be at risk to being lost to time (and perhaps even to Google) is a treat, and I can’t wait to see if more long lost stories come to light in future volumes.
Listen to the interview with Rod at Slice of SciFi: Rod Pyle talks “Amazing Stories of the Space Age”
Amazing Stories of the Space Age: True Tales of Nazis in Orbit, Soldiers on the Moon, Orphaned Martian Robots, and Other Fascinating Accounts from the Annals of Spaceflight by Rod Pyle
Paperback: 365 pages
Publisher: Prometheus Books (January 24, 2017)