The First Space Race

The First Space Race : Launching the World's First Satellites

4.6 (10 ratings by Goodreads)
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From 1955 to 1958, American and Soviet engineers battled to launch successfully the world's first satellite, as the first nation to do so would gain advantages in science, the Cold War propaganda contest, and the military balance of power. The race to orbit featured two American teams led by rival services - the army and the navy - and a Soviet effort so secret that few even knew it existed. Now, Matt Bille and Erika Lishock tell this story from both sides of the Iron Curtain, from the origins of spaceflight theory through the military and political events that shaped the modern world. Some aspects of this story, such as the navy's Notsnik satellite project, are almost unknown. Even some details of well-known programs, such as the appearance of America's pioneering Explorer 1 satellite and the contributions made by its rival, Project Vanguard, are generally misremembered. In today's era of space shuttles, Mars rovers, and the International Space Station, it is difficult to imagine just how challenging the first steps into space really were. Yet at the end of the race, not only had those first satellites been launched, but the resulting new technologies had forever changed life on Earth.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 154.9 x 231.1 x 20.3mm | 498.96g
  • College Station, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 27 b/w photos, 3 line drawings, bibliography
  • 1585443565
  • 9781585443567
  • 2,561,755

Review quote

"[the authors] skillfully utilize more recent historical studies of early Soviet space activities to craft a balanced comparison and sense of interaction between Soviet and US initiatives. Their own original research and interviews address historical questions unresolved in existing accounts. . . brisk and engaging. . . solid and engaging. . . the authors' enjoyment of their subject shines through, allowing readers to enter readily into their story.." . . the authors do a good job of bringing together salient elements from a wealth of serious historical writing on the subject in the last decade. This represents the best narrative available synthesizing this story. The authors also make some key contributions that have not been explored before. This is especially true of their discussion of the Navy program known at Notsnik, an effort to build an orbital satellite in the 1950s that was even largely secret from the Navy."--Dr. Roger D. Launius, Chair, Space History, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
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About Matt Bille

Matt Bille is a former Air Force officer who now works on launch systems and space law. He is currently an associate with the global consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, and he works on space launch, microsatellites, and other space policy and technology projects. He is also a science writer with numerous publications on space, history, and zoology.Erika Lishock has worked extensively as a launch operations engineer on major military satellite programs and has written a number of studies on satellites and launch vehicles. She is currently an associate with Booz Allen Hamilton supporting current and future communications satellite projects. She is also an avid mountain climber and a trainer with Market America, Inc., specializing in concepts of mass customization and one-to-one marketing.
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Rating details

10 ratings
4.6 out of 5 stars
5 60% (6)
4 40% (4)
3 0% (0)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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