NASA's history is a familiar story, one that typically peaks with Neil Armstrong taking his small step on the Moon in 1969. But America's space agency wasn't created in a vacuum. It was assembled from pre-existing parts, drawing together some of the best minds the non-Soviet world had to offer. In the 1930s, rockets were all the rage in Germany, the focus both of scientists hoping to fly into space and of the German armed forces, looking to circumvent the restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles. One of the key figures in this period was Wernher von Braun, an engineer who designed the rockets that became the devastating V-2. As the war came to its chaotic conclusion, von Braun escaped from the ruins of Nazi Germany, and was taken to America where he began developing missiles for the US Army. Meanwhile, the US Air Force was looking ahead to a time when men would fly in space, and test pilots like Neil Armstrong were flying cutting-edge, rocket-powered aircraft in the thin upper atmosphere. Breaking the Chains of Gravity tells the story of America's nascent space program, its scientific advances, its personalities and the rivalries it caused between the various arms of the US military. At this point getting a man in space became a national imperative, leading to the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, otherwise known as NASA.
In 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yury Gagarin became the first person to orbit Earth. Now, more than a half-century later, huge advances have been achieved in spaceflight. Humans have walked on the moon, lived in orbit around Earth on space stations, and are now looking to Mars as the next frontier. This easy-to-understand narrative presents the Cold War�s space race, the effects of spaceflight on humans, what is required to become an astronaut, and how NASA and private companies are embracing the future of spaceflight.
Mary Robinette Kowal's science fiction debut, The Calculating Stars, explores the premise behind her award-winning "Lady Astronaut of Mars." Nebula Finalist for Best Novel Locus Trade Paperback Bestseller List Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2018—Science Fiction/Fantasy Winner 2019 RUSA Reading List for Science Fiction—American Library Association Locus 2018 Recommended Reading List Locus Bestseller List Chicago Review of Books—Top 10 Science Fiction Books of 2018 Goodreads—Most Popular Books Published in July 2018 (#66) The Verge—12 fantastic science fiction and fantasy novels for July 2018 Unbound Worlds—Best SciFi and Fantasy Books of July 2018 Den of Geek—Best Science Fiction Books of June 2018 Publishers Weekly—Best SFF Books of 2018 Omnivoracious—15 Highly Anticipated SFF Reads for Summer 2018 Past Magazine—Best Novels of 2018 Bookriot—Best Science Fiction Books of 2018 The Library Thing—Top Five Books of 2018 On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process. Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too. Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.