Heppenheimer, T. A.
Adult Nonfiction TL789.8.U5 H49 1997
Summary: The most comprehensive account of the forces behind mankind2s boldest adventure A History of Space Flight "By far the most significant and technically insightful account of the ventures into the space environment I have seen. . . . [Heppenheimer] concentrates unerringly on key elements, both technical and managerial, in this account of man2s initial space ventures."-Lee Atwood, Former President and Chairman, North American Aviation Corporation "A fascinating, detailed comparison of the people and programs, the triumphs and failures of the two major space-faring nations; well presented and well told."-Dale D. Myers, Former Associate Administrator for Space Flight, NASA "A hundred years ago, a brilliant Russian schoolteacher had a vision of human beings overcoming gravity to venture beyond their home planet. Today, astronauts and cosmonauts live together in space for months on end. What happened in between is a story of phenomenal ingenuity and perseverance by some of our century2s greatest engineers, scientists, and explorers. No one is better equipped to tell that wondrous tale than Tom Heppenheimer. Combining an expert grasp of technology with a historian2s perspective on world events, he weaves the story of space flight through the unfolding of the twentieth century. It2s all here, from the early rocket experiments of Goddard and von Braun, to the Cold War race to the moon, to the era of international cooperation in space. This truly impressive book conveys the power that has lifted humanity off the earth-not only rockets, but people who dared to reach beyond their own limits."-Andrew Chaikin, Author of A Man on the Moon: The Voyage of the Apollo Astronauts is the most comprehensive account of mankind2s drive to explore outer space. Drawing on new information-including recently opened Soviet archives and declassified CIA documents-this landmark book reveals the behind-the-scenes events that shaped both the U.S. and Soviet space programs. Acclaimed science writer and aeronautical engineer T. A. Heppenheimer traces the evolution of long-range projectiles from their violent birth early in the twentieth century to their peaceful use today. He weaves a fascinating story of vivid personalities and awesome technologies, of courage and imagination as well as pettiness, waste, and destruction. The key players in NASA, the U.S. Air Force, the CIA, the Soviet Union, and the major European powers come together against a riveting backdrop of high technology and high stakes in international politics. Working out of wine cellars, chicken coops, and parking lots, with improvised equipment that included sauce pans and cocktail shakers, space age prophets like Robert Goddard, Hermann Oberth, and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky attracted the attention of their respective governments-who quickly saw the military potential of their work. Countdown is alive with rich portraits of pivotal figures, including the brilliant aristocrat, Wernher von Braun, father of the dreaded V-2 rocket and future head of the American space effort, and Sergei Korolev, sentenced to a Siberian prison camp under Stalin2s terror, only to be released to lead the Soviet rocket program. Heppenheimer gives an eye-opening account of the involvement of the CIA during the 1950s and 1960s, and shows that the CIA, the Air Force, and the North American Aviation Corporation were, in fact, the original architects of America2s space program. He argues persuasively that the Soviet space program began as a cynical ploy by Nikita Khrushchev to convince Third World leaders that the Soviet Union was a much more technologically advanced country than it actually was, and that the tide of history was flowing East rather than West. He provides a detailed account of how Kennedy2s decision to go to the moon was, in turn, an attempt to counter Khrushchev2s public relations maneuvers. And he describes how, in the po
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