Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon

Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon

Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon

Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon

Synopsis

A tribute to sixteen space pioneers.

Near the end of the Apollo 15 mission, David Scott and fellow moonwalker James Irwin conducted a secret ceremony unsanctioned by NASA: they placed on the lunar soil a small tin figurine called "The Fallen Astronaut," along with a plaque bearing a list of names. By telling the stories of those sixteen astronauts and cosmonauts who died in the quest to reach the moon between 1962 and 1972, this book enriches the saga of humankind's greatest scientific undertaking, Project Apollo, and conveys the human cost of the space race.
Many people are aware of the first manned Apollo mission, in which Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee lost their lives in a fire during a ground test, but few know of the other five fallen astronauts whose stories this book tells as well, including Ted Freeman and C. C.Williams, who died in the crashes of their T-38 jets; the "Gemini Twins,"Charlie Bassett and Elliot See, killed when their jet slammed into the building where their Gemini capsule was undergoing final construction;and Ed Givens, whose fatal car crash has until now been obscured by rumors. Supported by extensive interviews and archival material, the extraordinary lives and accomplishments of these and other fallen astronauts--including eight Russian cosmonauts who lost their lives during training--unfold here in intimate and compelling detail. Their stories return us to a stirring time in the history of our nation and remind us of the cost of fulfilling our dreams. This revised edition includes expanded and revised biographies and additional photographs.

Excerpt

Over the past four decades, hardly a day has gone by when I am not asked about some aspect of being the last man to stand on the moon. Millions upon millions of words have been written about this amazing adventure, and yet people are still curious to know what it was like. I even wrote my own book, not just to help answer many of these questions but also so that my own grandchildren would know through my words what it was like to live out my dreams. I did not think there could possibly be another book about the Apollo program that would reveal something new or some avenue that had not been explored. But I was wrong.

This is a book about some extraordinary men I worked with in accomplishing that lunar triumph. Most were my good friends as well as colleagues, but tragically they fell short of their dreams. in eight years we went from blasting a man into space on a quick ballistic flight to that incredible day in July 1969 when Neil Armstrong first set foot on another world. For each of those eight years we lost an astronaut, but the tremendous pain of this loss could not be sustained for long in our nation’s race to the moon. Mission followed hard on the heels of mission, and our training took place at breakneck speed as engineers and planners worked with diligence and inspiration to achieve our goal of a manned lunar landing.

This wonderful book brings back many profound and even long-forgotten memories of the men behind those eight names—not just as nasa astronauts training to go into space (and these stories are told) but as loving sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers whose loss still sits deep in the hearts of those they left behind.

It is quite rightly pointed out that these men would have accomplished much in Apollo and post-Apollo programs. Several of them would have . . .

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