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Test Gods
  • Published: 6 July 2021
  • ISBN: 9781786331861
  • Imprint: Hutchinson
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $35.00

Test Gods

Virgin Galactic and the Making of a Modern Astronaut




The story of the new generation of astronauts forging a world of commercial space travel

The story of the new generation of astronauts forging a world of commercial space travelWhen Richard Branson founded Virgin Galactic in 2004, the goal was simple: to offer civilian space travel by the end of the decade. Fifteen years, a dozen delays and one catastrophic rocket crash later, we are on the verge of space tourism becoming a reality.New Yorker journalist Nicholas Schmidle has witnessed the fall and rise of Virgin Galactic first-hand. Over the last five years, he has spent hundreds of hours embedded in the heart of the company: spending countless hours with Branson, and befriending the pilots who are risking their lives to make space tourism a reality.Now, Schmidle offers the definitive inside story of the individuals building this new world of commercial space travel. It is the story of Branson, who emerges as an excitable but often overoptimistic evangelist for the project; of Mark Stucky, the showboating chief pilot whose obsession with his job is destroying his relationship with his son; and Mike Alsbury, the archly professional former engineer pilot who, as a result of a momentary miscalculation, crashed his plane into the California desert - becoming the first casualty of the new space race.The result is a compelling examination of the inner lives of a new generation of astronauts. Theirs is a world where the line between lunacy and genius is blurred, and where no sacrifice is too great in pursuit of the dream of space travel._______________________________'If you want to know what being a test pilot truly looks and feels and even smells like, read this riveting book. Schmidle has done something remarkable, capturing all the visceral grit we experience inside the cockpit, in addition to all the tragedies and triumphs that we encounter along the way. This is the book about the New Space Race you've been waiting to read. An instant classic.' - SCOTT KELLY, astronaut and author of Endurance

  • Published: 6 July 2021
  • ISBN: 9781786331861
  • Imprint: Hutchinson
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $35.00

About the author

Nicholas Schmidle

Nicholas Schmidle joined the New Yorker as a staff writer in 2012. His first article for the magazine, ‘Getting bin Laden’, was a National Magazine Award finalist. Since then, he has written about a Russian arms trafficker, an antiquarian book forger, a wrongful conviction in Chicago, the former national-security adviser Michael Flynn, and many others. The winner of a Kurt Schork Award for freelance journalism, he is a two-time Livingston Award finalist, and has received fellowships from the Institute of Current World Affairs and the New America Foundation. In 2017, he was a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University. He lives in London.

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