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Mission Control

Readers' Cafe

American Moonshot John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race
The Planets Photographs from the Archives of NASA
One Giant Leap The Untold Story of How We Flew to the Moon
How to Make a Spaceship A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight
Failure Is Not an Option Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond
Chasing the Demon A Secret History of the Quest for the Sound Barrier, and the Band of American Aces Who Conquered It
Rocket Boys
Mission Control Inventing the Groundwork of Spaceflight
Apollo to the Moon A History in 50 Objects
Infinite Worlds The People and Places of Space Exploration
Breaking the Chains of Gravity The Story of Spaceflight before NASA
Space Chronicles Facing the Ultimate Frontier
Moonshot What Landing a Man on the Moon Teaches Us About Collaboration, Creativity, and the Mind-set for Success
American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race / Douglas Brinkley

As the fiftieth anniversary of the first lunar landing approaches, the award winning historian and perennial New York Times bestselling author takes a fresh look at the space program, President John F. Kennedy's inspiring challenge, and America's race to the moon.


On May 25, 1961, JFK made an astonishing announcement: his goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In this engrossing, fast-paced epic, Douglas Brinkley returns to the 1960s to recreate one of the most exciting and ambitious achievements in the history of humankind. American Moonshot brings together the extraordinary political, cultural, and scientific factors that fueled the birth and development of NASA and the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects, which shot the United States to victory in the space race against the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.

A vivid and enthralling chronicle of one of the most thrilling, hopeful, and turbulent eras in the nation's history, American Moonshot is an homage to scientific ingenuity, human curiosity, and the boundless American spirit.

The Planets: Photographs from the Archives of NASA / Anthony Casillo

This magnificent volume offers a rich visual tour of the planets in our solar system. More than 200 breathtaking photographs from the archives of NASA are paired with extended captions detailing the science behind some of our cosmic neighborhood's most extraordinary phenomena. Images of newly discovered areas of Jupiter, fiery volcanoes on Venus, and many more reveal the astronomical marvels of space in engrossing detail. Anyone with an interest in science, astronomy, and the mysteries of the universe will delight in this awe-inspiring guide to the wonders of the solar system.

One Giant Leap: The Untold Story of How We Flew to the Moon / Charles Fishman

In One Giant Leap, Charles Fishman reveals the untold true story of the men and women charged with taking the United States to the Moon.

President John F. Kennedy astonished the world on May 25, 1961, when he announced to Congress that the United States would land a man on the Moon by 1970. No group was more surprised than the engineers at NASA. On the day of the historic speech, America had a total of fifteen minutes of spaceflight experience - with just five of those minutes outside the atmosphere. In fact, Soviet canines had more spaceflight experience than US astronauts. To fulfill President Kennedy's mandate, NASA engineers had to invent space travel. When Kennedy announced his goal, no one knew how to navigate to the Moon.

How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight / Julian Guthrie

Alone in a Spartan black cockpit, test pilot Mike Melvill rocketed toward space. He had eighty seconds to exceed the speed of sound and begin the climb to a target no civilian pilot had ever reached. He might not make it back alive. If he did, he would make history as the world's first commercial astronaut.

The spectacle defied reason, the result of a competition dreamed up by entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, whose vision for a new race to space required small teams to do what only the world's largest governments had done before.

The story of the bullet-shaped SpaceShipOne, and the other teams in the hunt, is an extraordinary tale of making the impossible possible. It is driven by outsized characters - Burt Rutan, Richard Branson, John Carmack, Paul Allen - and obsessive pursuits. In the end, as Diamandis dreamed, the result wasn't just a victory for one team; it was the foundation for a new industry and a new age.

Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond / Gene Kranz

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.?
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Chasing the Demon: A Secret History of the Quest for the Sound Barrier, and the Band of American Aces Who Conquered It / DAN HAMPTON

In the aftermath of World War II, the United States accelerated the development of technologies that would give it an advantage over the Soviet Union. Airpower, combined with nuclear weapons, offered a formidable check on Soviet aggression. In 1947, the United States Air Force was established. Meanwhile, scientists and engineers were pioneering a revolutionary new type of aircraft which could do what no other machine had ever done: reach mach 1 - a speed faster than the movement of sound - which pilots called "the demon."

A decorated military pilot with years of experience flying supersonic fighter jets, Dan Hampton reveals in-depth the numerous potential hazards that emerged with the Air Force's test flights: controls broke down, engines flamed out, wings snapped, and planes and pilots disintegrated as they crashed into the desert floor. He also introduces the men who pushed the envelope taking the cockpits of these jets, including World War II ace Major Dick Bong and twenty-four-year-old Captain Chuck Yeager, who made history flying the Bell X-1 plane faster than the speed of sound on October 14, 1947.

Illustrated with thirty black-and-white photographs, Chasing the Demon recalls this period of the emerging Cold War and the brave adventurers pursing the final frontier in aviation.

Rocket Boys / Homer Hickam

Rocket Boys is a uniquely American memoir?a powerful, luminous story of coming of age at the dawn of the 1960s, of a mother's love and a father's fears, of a group of young men who dreamed of launching rockets into outer space . . . and who made those dreams come true. With the grace of a natural storyteller, NASA engineer Homer Hickam paints a warm, vivid portrait of the harsh West Virginia mining town of his youth, evoking a time of innocence and promise, when anything was possible, even in a company town that swallowed its men alive.?

Mission Control: Inventing the Groundwork of Spaceflight / Michael Peter Johnson

Brave astronauts, flaring rockets, and majestic launches are only one side of the story of spaceflight. Any mission to space depends on years - if not decades - of work by thousands of dedicated individuals on the ground. These are the people whose voices offer a friendly link to Earth in the void of space, whose hands maneuver rovers across the face of planets, and whose skills guide astronauts home.?

In Mission Control, Michael Johnson explores the famous Johnson Space Center in Houston, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, and the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany - each a strategically designed micro-environment responsible for the operation of spacecraft and the safety of passengers. He explains the motivations behind the location of each center and their intricate design. He shows how the robotic spaceflight missions overseen in Pasadena and Darmstadt set these centers apart from Houston, and compares the tracking networks used for different types of spacecraft.

Apollo to the Moon: A History in 50 Objects / TEASEL E MUIR-HARMONY

A celebration of the 50th anniversary of NASA's Apollo missions to the moon, this narrative uses 50 key artifacts from the Smithsonian archives to tell the story of the groundbreaking space exploration program.

Bold photographs, fascinating graphics, and engaging stories commemorate the 20th century's most important space endeavor: NASA's Apollo program to reach the moon. From the lunar rover and a survival kit to space food and moon rocks, it's a carefully curated array of objects--complete with intriguing back stories and profiles of key participants.

This book showcases the historic space exploration program that landed humans on the moon, advanced the world's capabilities for space travel, and revolutionized our sense of humanity's place in the universe. Each historic accomplishment is symbolized by a different object, from a Russian stamp honoring Yuri Gagarin and plastic astronaut action figures to the Apollo 11 command module, piloted by Michael Collins as Armstrong and Aldrin made the first moonwalk, together with the monumental art inspired by these moon missions. Throughout, Apollo to the Moon also tells the story of people who made the journey possible: the heroic astronauts as well as their supporters, including President John F. Kennedy, newsman Walter Cronkite, and NASA scientists such as Margaret Hamilton.

Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration / Michael Soluri

A stunning, unprecedented collection of photographs and essays that goes behind the scenes at NASA, in which the humanity of the astronauts, engineers, scientists, technicians, and ground crews that contributed in saving the Hubble Space Telescope are revealed.

Michael Soluri has been photographing the people and places of space exploration for more than fifteen years. With the support of Discover magazine, NASA, and the astronaut crew, he was able to gain unfettered access to the multiple worlds of the historic, one-of-a-kind shuttle mission and tools that saved the Hubble Space Telescope. His friendship with the crew grew out of a chance meeting with Mike Massimino, one of the seven astronauts selected for the last-ever servicing mission to the Hubble.

Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight before NASA / Amy Shira Teitel

NASA's history is a familiar story, culminating with the agency successfully landing men on the moon in 1969, but its prehistory is an important and rarely told tale. America's space agency drew together some of the best minds the non-Soviet world had to offer. At the end of World War II, Wernher von Braun escaped Nazi Germany and came to America where he began developing missiles for the United States Army. The engineer behind the V-2 rocket, von Braun dreamt of sending rockets into space. Ten years later his Jupiter rocket was the only one capable of launching a satellite into orbit.

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and the U.S. Air Force, meanwhile, brought rocket technology into the world of manned flight. NACA test pilots like Neil Armstrong flew cutting-edge aircraft in the thin upper atmosphere while Air Force pilots rode to the fringes of space in balloons to see how humans handled radiation at high altitude.

Breaking the Chains of Gravity looks at the evolving roots of America's space program--the scientific advances, the personalities, and the rivalries between the various arms of the United States military. After the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957, getting a man in space suddenly became a national imperative, leading President Dwight D. Eisenhower to pull various pieces together to create the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier / Neil deGrasse Tyson

A thought-provoking and humorous collection on NASA and the future of space travel. Neil deGrasse Tyson is a rare breed of astrophysicist, one who can speak as easily and brilliantly with popular audiences as with professional scientists. Now that NASA has put human space flight effectively on hold?with a five- or possibly ten-year delay until the next launch of astronauts from U.S. soil?Tyson?s views on the future of space travel and America?s role in that future are especially timely and urgent. This book represents the best of Tyson?s commentary, including a candid new introductory essay on NASA and partisan politics, giving us an eye-opening manifesto on the importance of space exploration for America?s economy, security, and morale.

Moonshot: What Landing a Man on the Moon Teaches Us About Collaboration, Creativity, and the Mind-set for Success / Richard Wiseman

On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, renowned psychologist Richard Wiseman reveals the powerful life lessons behind humanity's greatest achievement.The historic moon landings were achieved against remarkable odds and within the space of just a few years. How can we apply the secrets of this astronomical success to our own goals, to achieve the impossible in work and in life?

Psychologist Wiseman brings together history, psychology, and self-help in this unique and powerful guide to achieving the impossible in work and in life. The result of intensive research, including interviews with surviving members of the Apollo mission-control team, Moonshot delivers eight key lessons on teamwork, leadership, persistence, creativity, and more, each one a vital part of the mindset for success.

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