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Selecting The Mercury Seven

Author: Colin Burgess
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 1441984054
Size: 70.87 MB
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The names of the seven Mercury astronauts were announced in April 1959 amid a flurry of publicity and patriotism. This work provides biographical details of all thirty-two finalists for the seven coveted places as America's pioneering astronauts. All of the candidates were among the nation's elite pilots involved in testing new supersonic aircraft capabilities. Most had served as wartime fighter and bomber pilots; some were test pilots on top secret and sophisticated aviation projects, while others were fleet admirals, prisoners of war, and proposed pilots for spaceflight programs such as the Dyna-Soar (X-20). The names of all 32 finalists have been kept secret until very recently. "Selecting the Mercury Seven" also relates the history and difficulties behind the initial choice of candidates. The lives, motivations, military careers, and achievements of the unsuccessful twenty-five finalists are explored first in fully authorized biographies. Test pilots for the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, each man has a fascinating and very different story to tell. All thirty-two men had to endure meticulous, demeaning, and brutal week-long medical examinations at the Lovelace Clinic in New Mexico. This was followed by another torturous week at the Wright Aeromedical Laboratory in Ohio, where they were subjected to extreme fitness and physiological testing, the sole purpose of which was to sort out the Supermen from the near-supermen. The final part of the book examines the accomplishments and spaceflights of the seven successful candidates, bringing their amazing stories right up to date.

Sigma 7

Author: Colin Burgess
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319279831
Size: 42.93 MB
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Colin Burgess offers a comprehensive yet personal look at the 1962 orbital mission of Wally Schirra aboard the spacecraft Sigma 7, the first book about this popular pioneering astronaut which explores his entire life and accomplishments. This continues the Pioneers in Early Spaceflight series, the volumes of which form an excellent record of Project Mercury's pioneering early phase of the Space Age. Schirra’s pre-NASA life is examined, as well as his training as a NASA astronaut and for his Mercury MA-8 flight. The 6-orbit flight of Sigma 7 is fully covered from its origins through to the spacecraft’s safe recovery from the ocean after a highly successful Mercury mission. Schirra’s participation on the Gemini 6 and Apollo 7 missions is also told, but in brief, and the book also relates his post-NASA life and activities through to his passing in 2007. The Mercury Seven occupy a unique spot in the history of human spaceflight, and Schirra is at last given his due as one of the contributing astronauts in this painstakingly researched book.

Inventing The American Astronaut

Author: Matthew H. Hersch
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 1137025298
Size: 63.96 MB
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Who were the men who led America's first expeditions into space? Soldiers? Daredevils? The public sometimes imagined them that way: heroic military men and hot-shot pilots without the capacity for doubt, fear, or worry. However, early astronauts were hard-working and determined professionals - 'organization men' - who were calm, calculating, and highly attuned to the politics and celebrity of the Space Race. Many would have been at home in corporate America - and until the first rockets carried humans into space, some seemed to be headed there. Instead, they strapped themselves to missiles and blasted skyward, returning with a smile and an inspiring word for the press. From the early days of Project Mercury to the last moon landing, this lively history demystifies the American astronaut while revealing the warring personalities, raw ambition, and complex motives of the men who were the public face of the space program.

The Last Of Nasa S Original Pilot Astronauts

Author: David J. Shayler
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319510142
Size: 47.26 MB
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Resulting from the authors’ deep research into these two pre-Shuttle astronaut groups, many intriguing and untold stories behind the selection process are revealed in the book. The often extraordinary backgrounds and personal ambitions of these skilled pilots, chosen to continue NASA’s exploration and knowledge of the space frontier, are also examined. In April 1966 NASA selected 19 pilot astronauts whose training was specifically targeted to the Apollo lunar landing missions and the Earth-orbiting Skylab space station. Three years later, following the sudden cancellation of the USAF’s highly classified Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) project, seven military astronauts were also co-opted into NASA’s space program. This book represents the final chapter by the authors in the story of American astronaut selections prior to the era of the Space Shuttle. Through personal interviews and original NASA documentation, readers will also gain a true insight into a remarkable age of space travel as it unfolded in the late 1960s, and the men who flew those historic missions.

Moon Bound

Author: Colin Burgess
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 1461438551
Size: 54.74 MB
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Often lost in the shadow of the first group of astronauts for the Mercury missions, the second and third groups included the leading figures for NASA's activities for the following two decades. “Moon Bound” complements the author’s recently published work, “Selecting the Mercury Seven” (2011), extending the story of the men who helped to launch human spaceflight and broaden the American space program. Although the initial 1959 group became known as the legendary pioneering Mercury astronauts, the astronauts of Groups 2 and 3 gave us many household names. Sixteen astronauts from both groups traveled to the Moon in Project Apollo, with several actually walking on the Moon, one of them being Neil Armstrong. This book draws on interviews to tell the astronauts' personal stories and recreate the drama of that time. It describes the process by which they were selected as astronauts and explains how the criteria had changed since the first group. “Moon Bound” is divided into two parts, recounting the biographies relating to the nine astronauts from NASA’s Group 2 in the first part, and the fourteen finalists in Group 3 in the second part. The stories of both selection groups are narrated through the experiences of four finalists with interesting backgrounds. One of these men is Al Rupp of the USAF who, as a West Point cadet, cheekily helped to steal the Navy mascot goat prior to the annual Army versus Navy game in 1953, thus achieving legendary status in the game’s history. Rupp was killed in a plane crash just two years after being named as a finalist for Group 3. The service career of naval aviator John Yamnicky was also very much the equal of other finalists, but he was killed on September 11, 2001, as he was a passenger on hijacked Flight 77, which was flown into the Pentagon. At the end of the work there are several chapters on how these candidates were prepped for their missions.

Faith 7

Author: Colin Burgess
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319305638
Size: 29.41 MB
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This book celebrates the final spaceflight in the Mercury series, flown by NASA astronaut Gordon Cooper, who led an adventurous life in the cockpit of airplanes and spacecraft alike, and on his Mercury mission he became the last American ever to rocket into space alone. He flew in the Mercury and Gemini programs and served as head of flight crew operations in both the Apollo and Skylab programs. Based on extensive research and first-person interviews, this is a complete history of the Faith 7 flight and its astronaut. Cooper later gained notoriety following the release of the movie, The Right Stuff, in which he was depicted by Dennis Quaid, but Burgess discovers there was even more drama to his story. It completes the "Pioneers in Early Spaceflight" subseries in fitting fashion.

Liberty Bell 7

Author: Colin Burgess
Publisher: Springer Science & Business
ISBN: 3319043919
Size: 24.98 MB
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NASA’s Mercury astronauts were seven highly skilled professional test pilots. Each of them seemed to possess the strength of character and commitment necessary to overcome apparently insurmountable obstacles as the United States entered into a Cold War space race with the Soviet Union. This was never more evident than on the epic suborbital MR-4 flight of Liberty Bell 7 with astronaut Virgil (‘Gus’) Grissom piloting the spacecraft to a successful splashdown, followed by the premature blowing of the craft’s explosive hatch. After a hurried exit and struggling to stay afloat, he could only watch helplessly as the recovery helicopter pilot valiantly fought a losing battle to save the sinking capsule. That day NASA not only lost a spacecraft but came perilously close to losing one of its Mercury astronauts, a decorated Korean fighter pilot from Indiana who might one day have soared to the highest goal of them all, as the first person to set foot on the Moon. For the first time, many of those closest to the flight of Liberty Bell 7 and astronaut Gus Grissom offer their stories and opinions on the dramatic events of July 21, 1961, and his later pioneering Gemini mission. They also tell of an often controversial life cut tragically and horrifically short in a launch pad fire that shocked the nation.

Freedom 7

Author: Colin Burgess
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 3319011561
Size: 27.39 MB
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Inevitably, there are times in a nation’s history when its hopes, fears and confidence in its own destiny appear to hinge on the fate of a single person. One of these pivotal moments occurred on the early morning of May 5, 1961, when a 37-year-old test pilot squeezed himself into the confines of the tiny Mercury spacecraft that he had named Freedom 7. On that historic day, U.S. Navy Commander Alan Shepard carried with him the hopes, prayers, and anxieties of a nation as his Redstone rocket blasted free of the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, hurling him upwards on a 15-minute suborbital flight that also propelled the United States into the bold new frontier of human space exploration. This book tells the enthralling story of that pioeering flight as recalled by many of the participants in the Freedom 7 story, including Shepard himself, with anecdotal details and tales never before revealed in print. Although beaten into space just three weeks earlier by the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shepard’s history-making mission aboard Freedom 7 nevertheless provided America’s first tentative step into space that would one day see its Apollo astronauts – including Alan Shepard – walk on the Moon.

Aurora 7

Author: Colin Burgess
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319204394
Size: 22.91 MB
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TO A NATION enthralled by the heroic exploits of the Mercury astronauts, the launch of Lt. Cmdr. Scott Carpenter on NASA’s second orbital space flight was a renewed cause for pride, jubilation and celebration. Within hours, that excitement had given way to stunned disbelief and anxiety as shaken broadcasters began preparing the American public for the very real possibility that an American astronaut and his spacecraft may have been lost at sea. In fact, it had been a very close call. Completely out of fuel and forced to manually guide Aurora 7 through the frightening inferno of re-entry, Carpenter brought the Mercury spacecraft down to a safe splashdown in the ocean. In doing so, he controversially overshot the intended landing zone. Despite his efforts, Carpenter’s performance on the MA-7 mission was later derided by powerful figures within NASA. He would never fly into space again. Taking temporary leave of NASA, Carpenter participated in the U.S. Navy’s pioneering Sealab program. For a record 30 days he lived and worked aboard a pressurized habitat resting on the floor of the ocean, becoming the nation’s first astronaut/aquanaut explorer. Following extensive research conducted by noted spaceflight historian Colin Burgess, the drama-filled flight of Aurora 7 is faithfully recounted in this engrossing book, along with the personal recollections of Scott Carpenter and those closest to the actual events.

Project Mercury

Author: John Catchpole
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9781852334062
Size: 78.71 MB
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Catchpole tells the fascinating story behind the development of the first American manned space program and its associated infrastructure. He provides accounts of the space launch vehicles, astronauts and their training, tracking systems and individual flights.