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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.

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    May 7, 2019

    Prometheus Books

    320 pages

    RRP $29.99

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