In Their Own Words by Loretta Hall
616 pages 57 illustrations; 7 x 10
ISBN 978-1-936744-27-5 ($39.95 pb)
Second Place, Adult Nonfiction-General, 2015 New Mexico Press Women Book Awards
Finalist, Science/Adult Non-fiction Book Award, 2015 INDIEFAB Book Awards
BEST SCIENCE BOOK: 2014 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards
BEST BOOK: 2014 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards
Finalist-Cover Design, 2014 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards
Ninety space pioneers describe their experiences while working on space research and exploration from the 1940s through the space shuttle program. Some of these men and women were well known as astronauts or members of Mission Control for Apollo flights to the Moon, and some were minor players in the programs—people like lab technicians, weather forecasters, welders, and helicopter pilots who supported rocket tests. Their stories disclose events and behind-the-scenes details available nowhere else. They reveal the human experiences of an era that extended from the launch of this planet’s first “artificial moon” to routine shuttle missions carrying people and supplies between Earth and the International Space Station. Drawn from the archives of the oral history program supported by the International Space Hall of Fame Foundation, the excerpts describe funny, frightening, and fascinating episodes. They paint the hues of human experience on the canvas of technological achievements.
In this book, for the first time, extensive portions of the New Mexico Museum of Space History and International Space Hall of Fame’s oral history collection are available to the general public. Supplemented with photographs and annotated for historical context, this presentation offers a unique glimpse into humanity’s struggles to become a spacefaring race. That perspective forms an important foundation for the new era of commercial spaceflight and interplanetary exploration.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Loretta Hall has been interested in space travel since her teenage years. She followed closely the early NASA programs: selection of the first astronauts (the Mercury Seven), the suborbital and orbital missions of Mercury and Gemini, the Apollo steps toward a moon landing. She was entranced and thrilled to watch a live telecast of man’s first steps on the moon.
In 1977, Loretta moved to New Mexico and became enamored with the state’s rich cultural diversity and long history of indigenous people, European colonizers, and American settlers.
Thirty years later, when plans for Spaceport America, the country’s only purpose-built commercial spaceflight facility, began moving forward, she was fascinated to discover the important role New Mexico has played in the development of space travel. She decided to herald that unheralded history by writing the only book to document the historic events in the state and the personal stories of the people who accomplished them. Out of this World: New Mexico’s Contributions to Space Travel, which was published in 2011, was selected as the Best New Mexico Book in the 2011 New Mexico Book Awards.
Loretta is a Space Ambassador for the National Space Society and a member of the Historical Society of New Mexico’s Speakers Bureau.
Thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds, Space Pioneers In Their Own Words is an anthology of firsthand testimonies from ninety space pioneers, who describe their work in space research and exploration from the 1940s up to the modern space shuttle program. Included are extensive sections of the New Mexico Museum of Space History and International Space Hall of Fame's oral history collections (annotated to shed light on historical context), and a handful of historical black-and-white photographs. Space Pioneers In Their Own Words will prove fascinating to anyone intrigued by this far-reaching field of research. — Small Press Bookwatch, Midwest Book Reviews October 2014
"This book takes the reader behind the scenes, telling stories that reveal the humanity of people we tend to see as "heroes." Whether you know the pioneers' names or not, reading their stories, in their own words, will be informative, enlightening, and entertaining." New Mexico Press Women's Broadsheet newsletter, August 2014
"This is a unique book in that it covers a broad spectrum of personal remembrances as derived from the private interview collection of the New Mexico Museum of Space History. While many of the persons included (about 90) represent those who have had some connection with New Mexico, the pioneers quoted are from a diverse spectrum that includes a former Soviet cosmonaut.... There are a lot of diverse and interesting people and topics to keep you involved in the book." National Space Society, Featured Nonfiction Book Review, October 2014 [See the full review at the National Space Society page.]