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Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon

by Colin Burgess, Kate Doolan, Bert Vis

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Stories of the eight American astronauts and eight Soviet cosmonauts who died in the race to reach the moon. --
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It was interesting to read about the astronauts usually not mentioned (or only in passing) in most other books about the Apollo program. I'm glad the people in this book get their stories told. Equally fascinating was the short chapter on the Soviet cosmonauts (although the author's frustration about misinformation in this area sometimes made the thread hard to follow).

At times the book really dragged. I feel bad saying it about a book about astronauts who died, but sometimes it got boring to read. ( )
  lemontwist | Aug 21, 2022 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Colin Burgessprimary authorall editionscalculated
Doolan, Katemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Vis, Bertmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Cernan, Eugene A.Forewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Now it is time to take longer strides--time for a great new American enterprise--time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways hold the key to our future on Earth... First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space, and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.
From U.S. President John F. Kennedy's Special Address to Congress on Urgent National Needs, the Capitol, Washington DC, 25 May 1961
We choose to go to the Moon. We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills; because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
From U.S. President John F. Kennedy's address at Rice University, Houston, 12 September 1962
Fleeting Shadows
(For the Eight)

These noble few, whose names recall
A time of loss, a hero's fall
When shrieking rockets pierced the sky
And soaring upwards lit my eye
To wondrous things, to frontiers new,
But there was pause, and silence too.
Who knows what ventures yet to see,
But suddenly, so suddenly,
Dark headlines brought your names afore,
Explorers gone, their dreams no more.
Oh noble few, whose starry light
Fell like a moonbeam o'er the night,
Fly once together into space,
Dreams unfulfilled you might embrace.
In bold formation contrails signed
Dancing daggers far behind.
As to the darkest night of all
Each lifter in their spirit's call.
A playful sunlight flayed their wings
And sparkled spoke of earthly things.
Up they flew, beyond the blue,
Where star-kissed heavens soft imbue.
All outward flew, and yet too soon
Cast fleeting shadows on the Moon.


Colin Burgess
Dedication
In memory of Dr. Patricia ("Patty" Hilliard Robertson, 1963-2001
NASA Acstronaut Class XVII, 1998

She touched our lives only briefly,and her dreams died in a mere instant of time,yet the authors wish to dedicated this book to the extraordinary and prodigious life of a person whose dedication, spirit, and tenacity went hand in hand with a gentle and capricious amiability that endeared her to all who knew her or knew of her.
First words
Over the past three decades, hardly a day has gone by when I am not asked about some aspect of being the last man to stand on the moon. (Foreword by Eugene Cernan.)
In the final phases of the last moon walk by the Apollo 15 astronauts on 2 August 1961, a small but unsanctioned ceremony was carried out amid the deep lunar valleys at Hadley Rille.
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Stories of the eight American astronauts and eight Soviet cosmonauts who died in the race to reach the moon. --

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