Christopher A. Roosa grew up the eldest son of Apollo 14 astronaut and command module pilot Stuart A. Roosa. As a child of the space program, Christopher had a ringside seat at the dinner table of one of twenty-four Americans who had either entered lunar orbit or landed on the moon. The first book written by an offspring of an Apollo astronaut to focus on growing up in that era, Son of Apollo tells the inside story of the life of his father, a man who had a remarkable career despite always believing his air force career was “off-track,” from his initial application to the service to his removal from the prime crew of Apollo 13 and his subsequent assignment to Apollo 14. During the Apollo 13 mission and recovery, Stuart played an integral role in developing the procedures to return the crew to Earth safely. The focus—and the pressure—of the entire Apollo program then shifted to the Apollo 14 mission. If the Apollo program was to continue, Stuart and the Apollo 14 crew would need to get safely to the moon, land, and return.
In writing about his father’s career, Christopher Roosa also shows us a familial side of the Apollo experience, from the daily struggles of growing up in the shadow of a father who was necessarily away in training most of the year to the expectations involved in being an astronaut’s son. Roosa’s story shows the Apollo era was the result not only of thousands of scientists and engineers working steadfastly toward achieving an assassinated president’s national goal but also the families who supported them and lived the missions in their own way.
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List of Illustrations Foreword Preface Prologue 1. The Launch of Apollo 14 2. The Roosa Family 3. Growing Up in Claremore 4. Life after Claremore 5. Flight Training 6. The Barrett Family 7. Meeting My Mother 8. Early Family Life 9. Houston, Texas 10. Getting on a Flight 11. Apollo Casualties 12. Pastimes 13. Apollo 11 14. Apollo 13 15. Apollo 14 16. Moon Trees 17. The Country Western Tapes 18. Postflight 19. Tales from the Road 20. Apollo Launches 21. Astronaut Downtime 22. Growing Up after Apollo 14 23. The Apollo Groupie Scene 24. Apollo 17 25. Reflections of an Apollo Command Module Pilot 26. The Last Flight of Apollo 27. Leaving NASA 28. My Father’s Passing Epilogue
Christopher A. Roosa is a retired colonel from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and is a combat veteran. He served in various positions in Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. He has worked as a senior congressional staffer on the House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, as a special assistant on the U.S. secretary of defense’s first Base Realignment and Closure Commission, as a political advance person for the U.S. Office of the Vice President, and as director of policy for a NASDAQ-100 corporation. For the last fifteen years he has also worked as an independent contractor for the U.S. government. Jim Lovell is a retired American astronaut, naval aviator, and mechanical engineer. He was the command module pilot of Apollo 8 and the commander of Apollo 13.
"Readers will appreciate Christopher Roosa’s memories and walk away from the book with admiration both for him and his father."—Tyler Peterson, H-Sci-Med-Tech
"Oklahoman Stuart Roosa would be proud that his son took time to let the world know what it was like in those exciting years to be the son of Apollo."—Bill Moore, Chronicles of Oklahoma
“U.S. Marine Corps Reserve colonel Christopher Roosa provides a unique view of the Apollo program from the perspective of an astronaut’s child. This book belongs on the shelf of everyone who revered the space program, as well as the values we seek to emulate from it within our families.”—Stephen M. Ryan, general counsel to Sen. John Glenn, who flew on Friendship 7 and space shuttle Discovery (STS-95)
“Australia has played a role in NASA’s programs since Apollo 14, with Phil Chapman on the support team. But space has always been about not only the astronauts but their families. Now a pilot’s son reflects on those heady days from the perspective of the children and the families. A great read.”—Paul Scully-Power, Australia’s first astronaut, who flew on space shuttle Challenger (STS-41-G)
“Having had my own children witness what it was like in those days of the Apollo program, it’s great that Christopher Roosa has written a story from the viewpoint of those who had a seat at the table. He shares family stories that only someone growing up during the Apollo program would know. An interesting read for space enthusiasts and those with gun and outdoor interests.”—Maj. Gen. Bill Anders, U.S. Air Force Reserve, lunar module pilot on Apollo 8
“Apollo 14 astronaut Stuart Roosa was an accomplished test pilot and smoke jumper whose career took him to the moon, where he spent a day and a half completely alone in lunar orbit. He observed and photographed the moon with a detail no human had ever before captured. His early death in the last century robbed us of many firsthand insights. Yet only a family member can tell us what it was truly like to be around a lunar explorer—not only during their NASA glory years but also when faced with the question every moon voyager faced when returning to Earth: what do they do next?”—Francis French, space historian and editor of Apollo Pilot: The Memoir of Astronaut Donn Eisele