A revised edition of the New York Times bestselling classic: the epic story of the golden years of American space exploration, told by the men who rode the rockets
On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, and the space race was born. Desperate to beat the Russians into space, NASA put together a crew of the nation’s most daring test pilots: the seven men who were to lead America to the moon. The first into space was Alan Shepard; the last was Deke Slayton, whose irregular heartbeat kept him grounded until 1975. They spent the 1960s at the forefront of NASA’s effort to conquer space, and Moon Shot is their inside account of what many call the twentieth century’s greatest feat—landing humans on another world.
Collaborating with NBC’s veteran space reporter Jay Barbree, Shepard and Slayton narrate in gripping detail the story of America’s space exploration from the time of Shepard’s first flight until he and eleven others had walked on the moon.
“Swashbuckling.” —The New York Times “Breathtaking.” —Entertainment Weekly “A must read . . . an insight into the wonders of space flight, yes. But more important, readers come to know Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton, and come to respect their courage and feel genuine affection for these two American heroes.” —President George H. W. Bush “Gripping, authoritative . . . and skillfully told, this is the ultimate inside story of the U.S. space program. “ —Walter Cronkite “From the early Cold War days of the Space Race through the beginnings of the ‘thaw,’ Moon Shot comes alive.” —Senator John H. Glenn
As one of the original seven Mercury astronauts, Alan Shepard (1923–1998) became the first American in space on May 5, 1961, and a decade later took, with his partner Edgar Mitchell, the longest walk—two miles—on the moon before hitting a golf ball for miles and miles across the lunar landscape. Another Mercury astronaut, Deke Slayton (1924–1993) was meant to be the second American in Earth orbit, but was grounded because of an irregular heartbeat. He stayed on at NASA to supervise his fellow astronauts and was returned to flight status in 1972. In 1975, after sixteen years as head of the astronaut office, Slayton made it into space for the historic first docking of an American and a Russian spacecraft, a step that was a long stride on the road to end the Cold War. Jay Barbree (b. 1933) is the author of eight books and has been NBC’s space correspondent since the birth of NASA. He shared an Emmy Award for NBC’s coverage of Apollo 11’s first landing on the moon, and is a recipient of NASA’s highest medal for Exceptional Public Service.