SpaceFlight: The Complete Story, From Sputnik to Curiosity (2019) – Giles Sparrow

Space.

The Final Frontier…

Ever since I was a child I looked up at the sky in wonder. This is an experience that I think everyone has shared, but only a few of us grow up with that sustained sense of awe through the rest of our lives.

After my introduction to Star Wars and Star Trek, I was swept up in the beauty of the stars and humanity’s grasp for them. I marveled as I came across pictures from the Apollo mission that had been taken from the moon – Earthrise! What an amazing and humbling image.

My walls were decorated with images of fictional starships, and a giant fold out poster I had pilfered from one of my school’s National Geographics. It was the moon’s surface, with images of the astronauts who had walked there. The Saturn V rocket was pictured, accompanied by stats on missions and crew. I would lose myself staring at it for hours – all of it culminating in meeting Gene Cernan a few years ago, and being able to share that story of my youth with him.

SpaceFlight is my youth, and wonder bound together in one glorious book. It’s awe-inspiring, wondrous, and shows the good and the innovation humanity can aspire to and achieve when we apply ourselves.

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And that is what DK Canada’s moon landing anniversary edition of SpaceFlight is. A fascinating history of the staggering achievement humankind has accomplished as he climb out of our cradle and take our first steps into the bigger universe.

Aided by the Smithsonian and featuring an introduction by Buzz Aldrin, SpaceFlight is a comprehensive and brilliant read that guides us through each step of humanity’s burgeoning journey out into the stars. From our first imaginings of space travel, through Operation Paperclip and the V2 rockets through to the Challenger and beyond, the names, places, and moments are recognizable, and impacted us as a species.

There are run downs on each of the Apollo missions, the tragic fire that claimed the lives of Apollo I, the Soviet disaster of Nedelin (which I had never heard of), the Voyager probes, Hubble, all of them are here, indexed and documented. Spaceflight serves as a fantastic companion piece and testimony to one of our grandest accomplishments.

Loaded with pictures from NASA, the Smithsonian, and from around the globe, SpaceFlight is as beautiful to look at as it is comprehensive in its information. This is a book for dreamers of all ages, as it shows how dreams are  made reality, not through wishful thinking but through hard work, drive, belief, dedication, and a shared vision.

Within the pages of this gorgeous book are the words, phrases, history, and images that are going to inspire the next generation of space explorers, the scientists, the dreamers.

I still count myself amongst the dreamers,  and SpaceFlight was a dream come true for me. This is a book that won’t even make it to my beloved bookshelves, it is going to be on hand, at my bedside table for a long time to come, as I stroll down the paths of our history, and look forward to the dreams of the future.

The Human Adventure is continuing, and DK Books SpaceFlight is a wonderful piece to help guide us on our way.

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