Bold They Rise: The Space Shuttle Early Years, 1972-1986

Bold They Rise: The Space Shuttle Early Years, 1972-1986

Bold They Rise: The Space Shuttle Early Years, 1972-1986

Bold They Rise: The Space Shuttle Early Years, 1972-1986

Excerpt

When I (David) first became involved in the Outward Odyssey series, working on the Skylab volume, my coauthors and I were shown a list of proposed titles for the first eight books in the series. As authors working on our first book, coming up with a title seemed like one of the more exciting parts of the job. We were thus somewhat pleased to be disappointed with the working title the publisher had provided: “Exemplary Outpost.” It was an accurate title, but it lacked the poetry of the other titles on the list—titles like Into That Silent Sea and In the Shadow of the Moon. I’m not sure that we quite lived up to that standard with Homesteading Space, but we made our best effort.

Even though it meant giving up the privilege of titling this volume, Heather and I were quite happy to go along with the name the publisher had suggested for this book: Bold They Rise. It was, quite literally, poetic, taken from the poem by series editor Colin Burgess that appears as the epigraph.

When we first read the poem, very early on in the process of writing this volume, we pictured the title as being about the Space Shuttles themselves, reflecting the poem’s reference to “winged emissaries.” As the book took shape, however, we realized that was no longer true; the title had taken on a new meaning for us. Rather than being about the hardware, it was about the men and women who risked their lives to expand humankind’s frontiers.

And in that vein, this book owes an incredible debt of gratitude to the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) Oral History Project, without which it quite literally would not exist.

With Homesteading Space, it was relatively easy to create a book that filled a unique niche—with a few notable exceptions, such as a handful of official NASA publications and David Shayler’s Skylab, very little had been written about America’s first space station. Breaking new ground was not a particular challenge.

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