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  The Real Space Cowboys (Buckbee, Schirra)

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Author Topic:   The Real Space Cowboys (Buckbee, Schirra)
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 39530
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-29-2004 10:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Real Space Cowboys
by Ed Buckbee with Wally Schirra
In 1959, seven U.S. military fighter pilots were selected to train as America's first astronauts. Alan Shepard, Gordon Cooper, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra and Deke Slayton would become known as the Mercury Seven (M7). These men, who had jockeyed for the best flying jobs in the military, began competing for rides on rockets. Most would eventually vie for the ultimate ride to the moon.

The author Ed Buckbee, who has enjoyed a 40+ year association with the U.S. manned space flight program, follows these brave men who pioneered the U.S. space program. Through time and personal friendships, he captures dreams of flying higher, faster and farther than anyone in the known universe. Readers are invited behind the scenes to witness the competition between chimpanzees and astronauts, and the conflict between NASA engineers designing capsules and those who would pilot them. Through this book, readers feel the collective will of a nation to defeat the Russians in an all-out space race via an American team of 400,000 engineers, technicians, astronauts and support personnel who performed as if the country were at war.

The eras of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo-- these were times of nobility and humility, but also times of arrogance, tension, and from time-to-time, humor. "Gotcha's" were commonplace astronaut pranks and a dubious answer to the question, "Are you a turtle?" resulted in a healthy bar tab.

In Wernher von Braun, discover a man who was committed to living in a new frontier. His words, "late to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise," are a testament to multi-tasking. Von Braun, the German-born rocket scientist and visionary of space flight, convinced presidents and congressmen to spend millions exploring space for peaceful purposes.

But what of our first space heroes after the Apollo program was completed? Accepting the call of Project Mercury meant a lifetime commitment. Their work continued with motivational programs for youth through the U.S. Space Camp programs, public programs at institutions such as the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, and others. The author himself shared the task of motivating the next generation through creation of U.S. Space Camp and the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Shepard is a prominent figure in the book. Together, he and the author prepared anniversary presentations, articles and TV interviews. They traveled to seven countries and more than twenty-five states marketing and opening Space Camps. They designed, developed and built the U. S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. As Shepard proclaimed upon Buckbee's retirement from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, "He's a space relic. We need to keep him and put him on exhibit in that space museum and when he dies, bury him next to that damn monkey."

Bonus CD-ROM includes anecdotes and rare film footage.

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Apogee Books (May 1, 2005)
  • ISBN-10: 1894959213
  • ISBN-13: 978-1894959216


Posts: 1217
From: Huntsville, AL, USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 12-30-2004 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ed Buckbee gave a presentation here last year on the anniversary of Shepard's Mercury flight which was really great, and has me really excited about his book.

Buckbee intimately knows the personalities of the original astronauts and captures them well.

Duke Of URL

Posts: 1316
From: Syracuse, NY
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 06-10-2005 11:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Duke Of URL   Click Here to Email Duke Of URL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The DVD included with this book has a segment titled "Shepard Gotcha Film." I was wondering if this is the movie Wally Shirra made for the Shepard roast?

I was also curious about the movie's length and quality (as in the reproduction). Is the movie available anywhere on the net?


Posts: 1376
From: ridgefield, ct
Registered: May 2002

posted 06-12-2005 08:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is the Shepard anniversary film made by [or for] Wally Schirra. As far as I know, it's not available in its entirety anywhere on the net. However, you never know what excerpts or still unpublished material may show up in the future on Wally's or Ed's sites.


Posts: 3146
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 06-13-2005 12:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We played the movie when Wally and Ed were here at the Fleet Science Center for their signing and it got GREAT laughs... the quality is very good, although of course you have to consider when it was made.


Posts: 1088
From: Sandpoint, ID, USA
Registered: Mar 2003

posted 01-30-2007 09:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After a long time of wanting this book, I got it for my birthday late last year. I finished the book a while ago, but finally got around to finishing watching the DVD today. I think this is an outstanding book and DVD.

For some reason (that is no longer clear to me) I expected this book to have more Schirra than it did, and I must confess to have had very little knowledge of Buckbee before reading the book. The book is mostly Buckbee, and I have an enormous appreciation for the man now.

There's actually a lot about Shepard in the book, maybe more than there is about Schirra. (If you don't have "Schirra's Space", you really need to get it.)

I was enormously interested in the information about von Braun, and although I am fully aware about the controversy surrounding the man, I think my next area of interest is to learn more about him. Those who are interested will find a lot about him in both the book and the DVD.

The DVD is wonderful. I especially liked the gotcha's about Shepard and Apollo 12 and the film about the lighthouse at the Cape.

If there's anybody out there that waited longer than me, I encourage you to get off the fence. You'll be glad you did.


Posts: 666
From: South Carolina
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 01-31-2007 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I too have (and enjoyed) "The Real Space Cowboys," and the DVD is a treat. I was happy to finally get to see the Alan Shepard "Gotcha!" film after hearing so much about it.


Posts: 5907
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 03-11-2018 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Reprinted by Acclaim Press.
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Acclaim Press (March 10, 2018)
  • ISBN-10: 1942613776
  • ISBN-13: 978-1942613770

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 39530
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-10-2018 10:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Huntsville Times describes the additions to the new edition:
"When I looked back (at the original printing from 12 years ago), all of these guys had passed away," Buckbee said, and he wanted to do something to bring their achievements back to the forefront in time for the July 20, 2019, celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

The new book contains a retrospective of what has been achieved in space 50 years since the moon landing and additional interviews with the Mercury 7 astronauts. It also includes more than 20 hours of bonus content on DVD, including interviews and video from the heyday of manned spaceflight.

"Not only do you get the book, but you get 20 hours of pretty unique video," Buckbee said.

The new version also contains a piece by von Braun's daughter, Margrit von Braun, about growing up the child of one of the world's most famous rocket scientists, and Shepard's daughter, Laura Shepard Churchley, on growing up the child of an astronaut and moonwalker.

Among other updates, there is also a new section of color photos of astronauts, including the Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz crews.

In addition, there is a salute to the 12 moon walkers, only four of which are still living -- Buzz Aldrin, David Scott, John Young and Charles Duke.

The book also updates the progress of Space Camp, started at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in 1982 while Buckbee was in charge. When Buckbee's original book was published in 2005, 600,000 students had been through Space Camp. Now, another 100,000 would-be astronauts and space engineers have come through the program.


Posts: 947
From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 06-11-2018 12:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The article is incorrect about the four living moonwalkers. Replace Young with Schmitt.

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