Cover image for The complete idiot's guide to NASA
The complete idiot's guide to NASA
Jones, Tom, 1955 January 22-
Publication Information:
Indianapolis : Alpha Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 335 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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Call Number
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TL521.312 .J66 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
TL521.312 .J66 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
TL521.312 .J66 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Coverage includes: the history of NASA, from its origins in the l950s as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Projects Mercury and Gemini; the history and timeline, triumphs and tragedies of the famed Apollo missions, including the historic Apollo 11, which put the first men on the Moon in l969; NASA's contributions to our everyday life, most notably on robotics and the creation of cutting-edge research on aerodynamics and chapters on important NASA discoveries: the Pioneer and Voyager Spacecraft, the Hubble Space Telescope, communications satellites such as the Echo, Telstar, and Syncom.

Author Notes

NASA astronaut Thomas D. Jones (Ph.D.) was born January 22, 1955, in Baltimore, Maryland. He enjoys baseball, hiking, biking, camping, skiing, and recreational flying. An avid reader and author, his favorite subjects are space aviation and American military history. Dr. Jones is the co-author of Mission: Earth A Voyage to the Home Planet and The Scholastic Encyclopedia of the United States at War. Dr. Jones graduated from Kenwood Senior High School, Essex, Maryland, in 1973; received a Bachelor of Science degree in basic sciences from the United States Air Force (USAF) Academy in Colorado Springs in 1977; and a Doctorate in planetary science from the University of Arizona in Tucson in 1988.

As a Distinguished Graduate of the USAF Academy, Dr. Jones served on active duty as an Air Force officer for six years. After pilot training in Oklahoma, he flew strategic bombers at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas. As pilot and aircraft commander of a B-52D Stratofortress, he led a combat crew of six, accumulating over 2,000 hours of jet experience before resigning as a captain in 1983. From 1983 to 1988 he worked toward a Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in Tucson. His research interests included the remote sensing of asteroids, meteorite spectroscopy, and applications of space resources. From 1989 to 1990, he was a program management engineer in Washington, D.C., at the Central Intelligence Agency's Office of Development and Engineering. In 1990 he joined Science Applications International Corporation in Washington, D.C. as a senior scientist. Dr. Jones performed advanced program planning for NASA's Solar System Exploration Division, investigating future robotic missions to Mars, asteroids, and the outer solar system.

After a year of training following his selection by NASA in January 1990, Dr. Jones became an astronaut in July 1991. He has logged over 52 days (1,272 hours) in space.

Michael Benson is the former editor of the Military Technical Journal and the author of 18 books, including the Encyclopedia of the JFK Assassination and Ballparks of North America. He was a contributor to The Complete Idiot's Guide to Professional Wrestling, Second Edition. Originally from Rochester, N.Y., Benson has a B.A. in Communications Arts from Hofstra University and currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with his wife and two children.

Table of Contents

Part 1 From Tang, to the Moon, and Now the Universep. 1
1 My Adventures in Spacep. 3
2 NASA Today: Unlocking the Secrets of the Universep. 17
3 What Makes a Rocket Go Up?p. 25
4 So You Want to Be an Astronaut?p. 35
5 Visiting NASA: Y'all Come On Down, Hear?p. 43
Part 2 The Early Daysp. 53
6 Wernher von Braun and Early U.S. Rocketsp. 55
7 Russia First Out of the Space Gatep. 65
8 Early Frustrations: Project Kaboom (A.K.A. Vanguard)p. 71
9 Explorer and Pioneerp. 77
10 Early Communications and Weather Satellitesp. 85
Part 3 Humans in Spacep. 95
11 Catching Up: Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shepard, and Project Mercuryp. 97
12 Around the World in 90 Minutes: Astronauts in Orbitp. 111
13 Near Perfectionp. 119
14 From Blecch to Yum: History of Space Foodp. 127
15 Two Heads Are Better Than One: Project Geminip. 137
16 Ironing Out Gemini's Bugsp. 151
17 Scouting the Solar Systemp. 161
Part 4 Moonwalkin'p. 171
18 Early Apollo Missionsp. 173
19 Apollo Hardwarep. 185
20 First Steps: Footprints for Eternityp. 195
21 Houston Solves a Problemp. 211
22 Dune Buggies, Golf Clubs, and Especially Moon Rocksp. 219
Part 5 After the Moonp. 231
23 Skylab and Space Detentep. 233
24 Launches Like a Rocket, Lands Like a Plane: The Space Shuttlep. 243
25 Loss of Challengerp. 255
26 Return to Flightp. 263
27 The International Space Station--Call Sign "Alpha"p. 273
28 How a Space Mission Gets Off the Groundp. 285
29 Revealing the Planets: Today's Robotic Explorersp. 293
30 Our Future in Spacep. 303
A Suggested Readingp. 313
B Glossaryp. 315
Indexp. 321