Best Selling Books in Astronomy & Space Science - Aeronautics & Astronautics

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release date: Dec 06, 2016
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Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

The #1 New York Times bestseller

The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.

Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.

 

release date: May 03, 2016
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The Wright Brothers
The #1 New York Times bestseller from David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize—the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly—Wilbur and Orville Wright.

On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two brothers—bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio—changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe that the age of flight had begun, with the first powered machine carrying a pilot.

Orville and Wilbur Wright were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity. When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius. Orville had such mechanical ingenuity as few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high school education and little money never stopped them in their mission to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off, they risked being killed.

In this “enjoyable, fast-paced tale” (The Economist), master historian David McCullough “shows as never before how two Ohio boys from a remarkable family taught the world to fly” (The Washington Post) and “captures the marvel of what the Wrights accomplished” (The Wall Street Journal). He draws on the extensive Wright family papers to profile not only the brothers but their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them. Essential reading, this is “a story of timeless importance, told with uncommon empathy and fluency…about what might be the most astonishing feat mankind has ever accomplished…The Wright Brothers soars” (The New York Times Book Review).
release date: Jan 17, 2017
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Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars
"If Hidden Figures has you itching to learn more about the women who worked in the space program, pick up Nathalia Holt's lively, immensely readable history, Rise of the Rocket Girls." --Entertainment Weekly

The riveting true story of the women who launched America into space.

In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn't turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible.

For the first time, Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the stories of these women--known as "human computers"--who broke the boundaries of both gender and science. Based on extensive research and interviews with all the living members of the team, Rise of the Rocket Girls offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science: both where we've been, and the far reaches of space to which we're heading.
release date: Feb 27, 2017
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Space Shuttle: Developing an Icon 1972-2013
Due to this collection's heavy weight (18 lbs) non-standard shipping costs apply. See shopping cart for details.

During 30 years and 135 missions, the U.S. space shuttle carried more crewmembers to orbit than all other launch systems, from all other countries combined, and carried more than 4.5 million pounds of payload to orbit. It was a staggering record of success. Unfortunately, it was accompanied by a tragic record of failure, with two accidents claiming the lives of 14 astronauts as well as other incidents claiming several ground personnel. But, as Richard Truly, an astronaut and NASA administrator, once said, "Flying in space is a bold business. We cannot print enough money to make it totally risk-free." This assertion was not meant as an excuse, simply a statement of fact regarding the physics of space travel and the dangers of chemical rockets.

Because it flew for 30 years, most people alive today do not remember a time when the space shuttle was not in the news. The public was enthralled, the politicians somewhat less, and the armchair critics even less so. The space shuttle was meant as a stepping-stone to broader exploration. But the funding and political will never materialized, leaving the vehicle with little meaningful work for most of its flight campaign. Nevertheless, the space shuttle launched a variety of commercial and military satellites, planetary probes to Venus and Jupiter, and three of the four NASA Great Observatories, including the pièce de résistance, the Hubble Space Telescope. Only near the end was it able to demonstrate its intended purpose, building a space station. Even that, when finished, was only a shell of what had been envisioned when the space shuttle was approved. Unfortunately, having found its stride as the primary support vehicle for the International Space Station, the White House canceled the program, leaving the United States without the ability to launch people to orbit.

All of this has left an uncertain legacy for one of the most visible engineering achievements of the 20th Century. This book is not meant to establish that legacy, but to thoroughly document the development, technology, and, to a lesser extent, the flight campaign. We will leave it to future historians to determine the ultimate worthiness of the program. What we can say for certain, though, is that it was one hell of a ride.

release date: Sep 01, 2012
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The Standard Pilot Log (Black): ASA-SP-30 (Standard Pilot Logbooks)
The finest and most verstile logbooks for aviators. ASA's logbooks have been "The Standard" of the industry for over 30 years and comply with the FAA's recordkeeping requirements. With so many options, there is a logbook that's right for you. Versatile, easy-to-use and flexible enough to fit any pilot's needs, student or ATP.
release date: Sep 01, 1990
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Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying

WHAT'S IN STICK AND RUDDER:

  • The invisible secret of all heavier-than-air flight: the Angle of Attack. What it is, and why it can't be seen. How lift is made, and what the pilot has to do with it.
  • Why airplanes stall How do you know you're about to stall?
  • The landing approach. How the pilot's eye functions in judging the approach.
  • The visual clues by which an experienced pilot unconsciously judges: how you can quickly learn to use them.
  • "The Spot that does not move." This is the first statement of this phenomenon. A foolproof method of making a landing approach across pole lines and trees.
  • The elevator and the throttle. One controls the speed, the other controls climb and descent. Which is which?
  • The paradox of the glide. By pointing the nose down less steeply, you descend more steeply. By pointing the nose down more steeply, you can glide further.
  • What's the rudder for? The rudder does NOT turn the airplane the way a boat's rudder turns the boat. Then what does it do?
  • How a turn is flown. The role of ailerons, rudder, and elevator in making a turn.
  • The landing--how it's made. The visual clues that tell you where the ground is.
  • The "tail-dragger" landing gear and what's tricky about it. This is probably the only analysis of tail-draggers now available to those who want to fly one.
  • The tricycle landing gear and what's so good about it. A strong advocacy of the tricycle gear written at a time when almost all civil airplanes were taildraggers.
  • Why the airplane doesn't feel the wind.
  • Why the airplane usually flies a little sidewise.
  • Plus: a chapter on Air Accidents by Leighton Collins, founder and editor of AIR FACTS. His analyses of aviation's safety problems have deeply influenced pilots and aeronautical engineers and have contributed to the benign characteristics of today's airplane.

Stick and Rudder is the first exact analysis of the art of flying ever attempted. It has been continously in print for thirty-three years. It shows precisely what the pilot does when he flies, just how he does it, and why.

Because the basics are largely unchanging, the book therefore is applicable to large airplanes and small, old airplanes and new, and is of interest not only to the learner but also to the accomplished pilot and to the instructor himself.

When Stick and Rudder first came out, some of its contents were considered highly controversial. In recent years its formulations have become widely accepted. Pilots and flight instructors have found that the book works.

Today several excellent manuals offer the pilot accurate and valuable technical information. But Stick and Rudder remains the leading think-book on the art of flying. One thorough reading of it is the equivalent of many hours of practice.

release date: Jun 01, 2017
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Fatal Flight: The True Story of Britain's Last Great Airship

Fatal Flight brings vividly to life the year of operation of R.101, the last great British airship--a luxury liner three and a half times the length of a 747 jet, with a spacious lounge, a dining room that seated fifty, glass-walled promenade decks, and a smoking room. The British expected R.101 to spearhead a fleet of imperial airships that would dominate the skies as British naval ships, a century earlier, had ruled the seas. The dream ended when, on its demonstration flight to India, R.101 crashed in France, tragically killing nearly all aboard.

Combining meticulous research with superb storytelling, Fatal Flight guides us from the moment the great airship emerged from its giant shed--nearly the largest building in the British Empire--to soar on its first flight, to its last fateful voyage. The full story behind R.101 shows that, although it was a failure, it was nevertheless a supremely imaginative human creation. The technical achievement of creating R.101 reveals the beauty, majesty, and, of course, the sorrow of the human experience.

The narrative follows First Officer Noel Atherstone and his crew from the ship's first test flight in 1929 to its fiery crash on October 5, 1930. It reveals in graphic detail the heroic actions of Atherstone as he battled tremendous obstacles. He fought political pressures to hurry the ship into the air, fended off Britain's most feted airship pilot, who used his influence to take command of the ship and nearly crashed it, and, a scant two months before departing for India, guided the rebuilding of the ship to correct its faulty design. After this tragic accident, Britain abandoned airships, but R.101 flew again, its scrap melted down and sold to the Zeppelin Company, who used it to create LZ 129, an airship even more mighty than R.101--and better known as the Hindenburg.

Set against the backdrop of the British Empire at the height of its power in the early twentieth century, Fatal Flight portrays an extraordinary age in technology, fueled by humankind's obsession with flight.

release date: Jun 23, 2009
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Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond
This memoir of a veteran NASA flight director tells riveting stories from the early days of the Mercury program through Apollo 11 (the moon landing) and Apollo 13, for both of which Kranz was flight director.

Gene Kranz was present at the creation of America’s manned space program and was a key player in it for three decades. As a flight director in NASA’s Mission Control, Kranz witnessed firsthand the making of history. He participated in the space program from the early days of the Mercury program to the last Apollo mission, and beyond. He endured the disastrous first years when rockets blew up and the United States seemed to fall further behind the Soviet Union in the space race. He helped to launch Alan Shepard and John Glenn, then assumed the flight director’s role in the Gemini program, which he guided to fruition. With his teammates, he accepted the challenge to carry out President John F. Kennedy’s commitment to land a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s.

Kranz recounts these thrilling historic events and offers new information about the famous flights. What appeared as nearly flawless missions to the Moon were, in fact, a series of hair-raising near misses. When the space technology failed, as it sometimes did, the controllers’ only recourse was to rely on their skills and those of their teammates. He reveals behind-the-scenes details to demonstrate the leadership, discipline, trust, and teamwork that made the space program a success.

A fascinating firsthand account by a veteran mission controller of one of America’s greatest achievements, Failure is Not an Option reflects on what has happened to the space program and offers his own bold suggestions about what we ought to be doing in space now.
release date: Mar 04, 2008
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The Right Stuff

From "America's nerviest journalist" (Newsweek)--a breath-taking epic, a magnificent adventure story, and an investigation into the true heroism and courage of the first Americans to conquer space. "Tom Wolfe at his very best" (The New York Times Book Review)

Millions of words have poured forth about man's trip to the moon, but until now few people have had a sense of the most engrossing side of the adventure; namely, what went on in the minds of the astronauts themselves - in space, on the moon, and even during certain odysseys on earth. It is this, the inner life of the astronauts, that Tom Wolfe describes with his almost uncanny empathetic powers, that made The Right Stuff a classic.

release date: May 16, 2017
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Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon

The untold story of the historic voyage to the moon that closed out one of our darkest years with a nearly unimaginable triumph

In August 1968, NASA made a bold decision: in just sixteen weeks, the United States would launch humankind’s first flight to the moon. Only the year before, three astronauts had burned to death in their spacecraft, and since then the Apollo program had suffered one setback after another. Meanwhile, the Russians were winning the space race, the Cold War was getting hotter by the month, and President Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade seemed sure to be broken. But when Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders were summoned to a secret meeting and told of the dangerous mission, they instantly signed on.

Written with all the color and verve of the best narrative non-fiction, Apollo 8 takes us from Mission Control to the astronaut’s homes, from the test labs to the launch pad. The race to prepare an untested rocket for an unprecedented journey paves the way for the hair-raising trip to the moon. Then, on Christmas Eve, a nation that has suffered a horrendous year of assassinations and war is heartened by an inspiring message from the trio of astronauts in lunar orbit. And when the mission is over―after the first view of the far side of the moon, the first earth-rise, and the first re-entry through the earth’s atmosphere following a flight to deep space―the impossible dream of walking on the moon suddenly seems within reach.

The full story of Apollo 8 has never been told, and only Jeffrey Kluger―Jim Lovell’s co-author on their bestselling book about Apollo 13―can do it justice. Here is the tale of a mission that was both a calculated risk and a wild crapshoot, a stirring account of how three American heroes forever changed our view of the home planet.

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