Ambassadors from Earth

9780803222205: Hardback
Release Date: 1st November 2009

9780803249233: Paperback
Release Date: 1st June 2014

50 illustrations

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 522

Series Outward Odyssey: A People's History of Spaceflight

UNP - Nebraska

Ambassadors from Earth

Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft

Hardback / £28.99
Paperback / £20.99

Rewind to the 1950s and ponder: was America’s first satellite really built by a college student? How did a small band of underappreciated Russian engineers get pictures of the moon’s far side—using stolen American film? As the 1960s progressed, consider: how the heck did people learn to steer a spacecraft using nothing but gravity? And just how were humans able to goose a spaceship through a thirty-year journey to the literal edge of our solar system?
 
Ambassadors from Earth relates the story of the first unmanned space probes and planetary explorers—from the Sputnik and Explorer satellites launched in the late 1950s to the thrilling interstellar Voyager missions of the '70s—that yielded some of the most celebrated successes and spectacular failures of the space age. Keep in mind that our first mad scrambles to reach orbit, the moon, and the planets were littered with enough histrionics and cliffhanging turmoil to rival the most far-out sci-fi film. Utilizing original interviews with key players, bolstered by never-before-seen photographs, journal excerpts, and primary source documents, Jay Gallentine delivers a quirky and unforgettable look at the lives and legacy of the Americans and Soviets who conceived, built, and guided those unmanned missions to the planets and beyond. Of special note is his in-depth interview with James Van Allen, the discoverer of the rings of planetary radiation that now bear his name.
 
Ambassadors from Earth is an engaging bumper-car ride through a fog of head-banging uncertainty, bleeding-edge technology, personality clashes, organizational frustrations, brutal schedules, and the occasional bright spot. Confessed one participant, “We were making it up as we went along.”

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

Jay Gallentine is a film and video engineer with a lifelong interest in space exploration.

"Many space buffs, especially young ones, should find this a satisfying narrative."—Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

"Ambassadors is written in an accessible and engaging style, introducing readers to behind-the-scenes players most of us have never heard of."—Russell Lewis, NPR

Russell Lewis
NPR

"[Ambassadors from Earth] offers an accessible account of the U.S. and Soviet planetary missions of the Space Race era, as well as the more widespread efforts of more recent times."—Roger Launius, Air & Space Magazine

Roger Launius
Air & Space Magazine

"Utilising original interviews with key players, bolstered by never-before-seen photographs, journal excerpts, and primary source documents, Gallentine delivers a quirky and unforgettable look at the lives and legacy of the Americans and Soviets who conceived, built, and guided those unmanned missions to the planets and beyond."—Philip Corneille, Spaceflight

Philip Corneille
Spaceflight

"This book provides a wonderful way of renewing interest in the pioneering contributions of the robotic space programs pursued by the United States and the Soviet Union."—De Witt Douglas Kilgore, Quest

De Witt Douglas Kilgore
Quest

"An intriguing and essential read on the history of unmanned space programs and especially the tug-of-war between the United States and the Soviet Union for space supremacy in the late 1950s and the decade of the 1960s."—Dale A. Stirling, Journal for the History of Discoveries

Dale A. Stirling
Journal for the History of Discoveries