The race to space between the United States and the Soviet Union captured the popular imagination. On April 12, 1961, the USSR launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on a one-orbit flight, making him the first human in space. Three weeks later, American astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. flew 116 miles above Earth before splashing down in the Bahamas. Over the next twenty years astronauts emerged as national heroes.
This book tells the story of the people and events of Projects Mercury and Gemini with hundreds of unpublished and rare photographs--both color and black-and-white. Unlike other publications, which illustrate the space race with well-known and easily accessible images, this history draws from the authors' private library of over one hundred thousand (and growing) high-quality photos of the early U.S. manned-space program. Collected over a lifetime from public and private sources--including NASA archives, fellow collectors, retired NASA and news photographers, and auction houses--the images document American space missions of the Cold War era more comprehensively than ever before. Devoting a chapter to each flight, the authors also include detailed descriptions, providing new insight into one of America's greatest triumphs.
"Together, [Spaceshots and Snapshots of Projects Mercury and Gemini and Moonshots and Snapshots of Project Apollo] are a treat for any space buff and, for the true believers, a reminder that even greater journeys may lie just ahead."--American Scientist
"[Bisney and Pickering] have collected an impressive selection of photographs. The book's massive assortment . . . does a wonderful job of illustrating the culture and experience of the space race."--mentalfloss.com
"In resurrecting many obscure photos the authors have provided a valuable, and highly desirable, compendium of outstanding pictures from an age when each flight saw the release of perhaps fewer than one-hundred stock shots."--Spaceflight
"The visual narrative employed by the authors reminds us not only of the sublimity of astronaut photography, but also the thousands of people who made spaceflight possible."--Quest
"From a space enthusiast's perspective, Pickering's book feeds an interest in the 'not-so-common' NASA image that everyone has seen before."--The Pantagraph
"An enjoyable book, offering a different look at familiar missions."--The Space Review
"The value of this collection is enhanced many times over by the exhaustive research that has gone into providing informative and accurate captions for each picture."--The Observatory
"A wonderful collection of rarely seen photographs that true space buffs will enjoy. The captions are worth their weight in space-fact gold." --Richard W. Orloff, coauthor of Apollo: The Definitive Sourcebook
"If you think you've seen every cool photo from the pioneering days of NASA, think again! J. L. Pickering and John Bisney have combed the archives . . . to create an extraordinary visual record that will delight and surprise even the most hard-core space enthusiast."-- Andrew Chaikin, author of A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts