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Drawing on original interviews with key players and bolstered by previously unpublished photographs, journal excerpts, and primary source documents, Jay Gallentine delivers a quirky and unforgettable look at the lives and legacy of the people who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 "Grand Tour" of the '70s and '80s, they yielded some of the most celebrated successes and spectacular failures of the space age.
Confessed one participant, "We were making it up as we went along."
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.
Jay Gallentine is a space historian who strives to tell never-before-heard stories of the space age in a lightheartedly appealing, readable, and nontechnical style.
List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Aboard the Glacier 2. Problem Child 3. The Convict 4. Light Fuse, GET AWAY 5. New Moon 6. Let's Make a Deal 7. The Creators and the Makers 8. Storming the Sea of Dreams 9. Moving at the Speed of Design 10. Job Number MA-11 11. The Science and the Cyclist 12. Get Off the Bus 13. Swing in Time 14. The Meeting and the Mechta 15. Think Like Gravity 16. Didn't They Get It? 17. The Death and the Funeral 18. One Hundred Percent Failure 19. Three-Problem Shipley 20. Pete and Al's Little Field Trip 21. Irradiated Plans 22. Embarking 23. Get It 24. Instant Science 25. Circles of Gold 26. Last Light 27. Continuum Sources Index