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  To a Distant Day (Chris Gainor/Outward Odyssey) (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   To a Distant Day (Chris Gainor/Outward Odyssey)
cspg
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posted 09-20-2007 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To a Distant Day: The Rocket Pioneers
by Chris Gainor
Although the dream of flying is as old as the human imagination, the notion of actually rocketing into space may have originated with Chinese experiments with gunpowder in the Middle Ages. Rockets as weapons and entertainment, whether sprung from science fiction or arising out of practical necessity, are within the compass of this engaging history of how human beings actually gained the ability to catapult themselves into space.

Chris Gainor's irresistible narrative introduces us to pioneers such as Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Robert Goddard, and Hermann Oberth, who pointed the way to the cosmos and created the earliest wave of international enthusiasm for space exploration. It shows us German engineer Wernher von Braun creating the V-2, the first large rocket, which opened the door to space but failed utterly as the "wonder weapon" it was meant to be. From there Gainor follows the space race to the Soviet Union and the United States and gives us a close look at the competitive hysteria that led to Sputnik, satellites, space probes, and – finally – human flight into space in 1961. As much a story of cultural ambition and personal destiny as of scientific progress and technological history, To a Distant Day offers a complete and thoroughly compelling account of humanity's determined efforts – sometimes poignant, sometimes amazing, sometimes mad – to leave the earth behind.

ColinBurgess
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posted 09-20-2007 08:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This of course is the next book due out in the Outward Odyssey series.

Jay Chladek
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posted 09-21-2007 12:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And if anyone doesn't recognize the author's name, Chris Gainor also wrote the excellent book for Apogee "Arrows to the Moon" chronicling the contributions by Canadian and UK born citizens to the US Space Program. The main focus is on the engineers that came to the US after termination of the Avro Arrow program, but it also covers other individuals that were not directly associated with Avro as well.

dom
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posted 09-22-2007 05:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This title sounds interesting. Does anyone know which 'Rocket Pioneers' the book covers?

Not much info on the web about it...

ColinBurgess
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posted 09-22-2007 06:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As series editor I'm going to be deliberately vague in discussing this book too much before the publishers have pulled their publicity together, but I can tell you that it is something of a prequel to "Into That Silent Sea" and "In the Shadow of the Moon" and tells the social or human history of rocketry and astronautics from the very beginning - the gunpowder days - up to the flight of Yuri Gagarin.

dom
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posted 09-22-2007 11:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Colin. It sure sounds like the type of book I'll like...

...but what a shame I'll have to wait another six months before I read it.

FFrench
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posted 10-02-2007 12:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The cover artwork for the book, and also the name of the (astronaut) foreword-writer, can now be seen on this link - to which, no doubt, the publisher will gradually add more information over time.

E2M Lem Man
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posted 10-03-2007 01:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That looks like an X-15 trail Colin!

ColinBurgess
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posted 10-03-2007 10:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jim, yes, I believe you're right, and that it was also used as an illustration for an X-15 article in the latest Smithsonian "Air & Space" magazine which I haven't seen yet (the last A&S magazine I looked at in a Sydney Borders store was just yesterday and it was the August issue!). Some things just take time to reach us here in Australia.

MCroft04
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posted 02-04-2008 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just had an email from University of Nebraska Press to order my copy of "To a Distant Day: The Rocket Pioneers". I think it ships in about 1 week. And they offered a 25% discount; what a deal!

ColinBurgess
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posted 02-04-2008 07:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mel, great to hear that the third book in the Outward Odyssey series is about to be released. For those who'd like to chase up that 25% discount, or just seek information on this new book, see the University of Nebraska Press website.

FFrench
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posted 02-06-2008 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just received a copy in the mail of this book, and I'm looking forward to reading it, starting with Al Worden's foreword. Nice to see other books in the Outward Odyssey series coming out. I believe next up is the book by the Skylab astronauts, which is just awesome.

cspg
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posted 02-07-2008 12:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An advanced reading copy of some sort? I'm asking because the book is due to be released on April 1 (according to Amazon.com).

FFrench
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posted 02-07-2008 12:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Chris:
An advanced reading copy of some sort? I'm asking because the book is due to be released on April 1 (according to Amazon.com).
No, this is a normal copy. It's probably similar to what happened with "Into That Silent Sea" - which had an April official release date, but was also arriving in early February from the publishers. The official dates are given so that all of the major stockists like Amazon have enough copies ready, but the book is actually available direct from the publisher a little earlier...

MCroft04
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posted 02-15-2008 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I received my copy of To a Distant Day from Nebraska Press yesterday; #1 in the queue!

MCroft04
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posted 03-01-2008 08:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm about half way through To a Distant Day. For some reason, perhaps because the focus of this book was not intended to be on the astronauts, I was not expecting a lot from the book. And boy was I wrong!! This book is very well written, well edited, and fascinating! Like the first two books in the series, I don't want it to end. If you don't have a copy yet, I suggest you buy one and read it.

Jay Chladek
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posted 03-01-2008 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gainor's last title "Arrows to the Moon" was the same way. The subject doesn't seem like one to suck you in, but it does it very well. And frankly, not all the best stories out there necessarily have to be astronaut related.

cspg
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posted 03-04-2008 09:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And there's an index in this volume!!

FFrench
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posted 03-14-2008 04:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just read this interesting review of the book.

ColinBurgess
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posted 05-12-2008 05:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There's a nice review of Chris's book this week on the Space Review website, written by Jeff Foust.

FFrench
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posted 05-19-2008 04:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There's also a review of the book in the June/July issue of "Air & Space Smithsonian."

bruce
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posted 05-19-2008 08:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bruce   Click Here to Email bruce     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for this reminder Francis! I read the review in my copy of "Air & Space" last night and I've just ordered my copy. This sounds like another great book from University of Nebraska Press. Does anyone know if there will be any signing opportunities with Chris?

Chris Gainor
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posted 05-22-2008 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chris Gainor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all the kind comments about my book. I am not touring with the book, but I will be speaking at the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada General Assembly at the end of June in Toronto. I also plan to be in Washington D.C. this fall and there may be some autograph opportunities then.

ColinBurgess
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posted 05-23-2008 01:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just as an aside, the University of Nebraska Press informed me today that all three of the books in the series released to date (including Chris's) have gone to a second printing. That to me represents great news for the future of the whole series.

Richard Easton
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posted 05-30-2008 11:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Easton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm enjoying the book and found the first chapter of particular interest in my own research. I have one question fro Chris. What is the source for your comment on page 175, "launched the first Transit navigation satellite, which evolved into today's Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites." My research indicates that Transit did not evolve into GPS; rather, GPS borrows mainly from TIMATION except for the signal which came from 621B.

AndrewLiptak
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posted 07-10-2008 09:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for AndrewLiptak   Click Here to Email AndrewLiptak     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by FFrench:
I just read this interesting review of the book.

Thanks for the link Francis!

cspg
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posted 09-17-2008 12:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On p60, Chris Gainor wrote:
In his recent survey of science fiction writings and movies, historian Frank Winter found that rockets were the prime mode of transport into space...
Has this survey been published? It's not listed under the "Sources" page.

I'm reading it now and it's a truly enjoyable book.

Chris Gainor
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posted 09-19-2008 05:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chris Gainor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, I should have described this article a little differently. Frank Winter's survey is contained inside an article about Goddard that I have listed in the sources:

Winter, Frank H. "The Silent Revolution: How R.H. Goddard Helped Start the Space Age," paper, IAA.6.15.1, presented at the 55th Congress of the International Astronautical Federation, Vancouver B.C., Canada, October 4-8, 2004.

Glad you're enjoying the book!

cspg
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posted 09-19-2008 11:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ok, thanks for the info!

cspg
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posted 09-22-2008 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another little question:

p127: in reference to Malina's rocket group, you wrote "The group also acquired a name they are still remembered by: the 'suicide squad.'"

Is this a reference to the preceding sentence (rocket test that left a cloud around the building)? Or is it because experiments tended to blow up? Or another reason? It's the word "also" in the quote above that intrigues me! Thanks.

(I know I can be slightly annoying!)

ColinBurgess
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posted 09-22-2008 05:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I once wrote an article about this group after recording a lengthy interview with the late General Homer Boushey. They called themselves the Suicide Club as a potent reminder to the members of the scientific organisation that they were involved in a hazardous and potentially calamitous endeavour - the physics of applied rocketry.

Dr. Robert Millikan, the head of Caltech, was a Nobel laureate and cosmic ray expert, and he was far from amused when he heard of the activities of this so-called Suicide Club, in particular his brilliant Hungarian professor Theodore von Karman. It is believed he even threatened to remove the illustrious researcher from his staff. Later, he had reason to not only withdraw his objections, but to actually form an allegiance with the man.

Chris Gainor may be able to fill in a few more blanks for you.

KC Stoever
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posted 09-22-2008 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Francis French, in Denver for a day, and I were delighted to find a copy of the Gainor book in this series at the legendary Tattered Cover.

We barnstormed the city's air and space places (including, of course, the space and astronomy section at Tattered Cover): the Space Odyssey section of the Museum of Nature and Science and Lowry's Wings Over the Rockies.

Chris Gainor
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posted 10-01-2008 12:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chris Gainor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the great photo!

According to Frank Malina, the "suicide squad" name resulted from the experiment I talked about in the preceding sentence on p. 129. Probably in part because of the experiment itself and subsequent similar tests that took place outside the building when von Karman ordered the "squad" members to do their work outside the building.

KC Stoever
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posted 10-03-2008 10:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regarding the Suicide Squad, nominally of JPL, if memory serves, didn't British author George Pendle write the definitive account of this bizarre, quasi-scientific rocketry endeavor in his well-reviewed Strange Angel, a biography of John Whiteside Parsons?

I recall that Rob Pearlman reviewed this singular book, which also happened to tell the story of L. Ron Hubbard and the scabrous origins of Scientology.

The review is posted here on cS, somewhere. I remember chiming as well. (Full disclosure: Pendle and I share a publisher: I received a gratis copy.)

On edit: here is the Strange Angel thread on the Suicide Squad, reviewed by Rob.

Chris Gainor
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posted 10-22-2008 07:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chris Gainor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Washington D.C. Book Signing Scheduled
To a Distant Day
With Chris Gainor

Sunday, October 26 2008
2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
National Air & Space Museum Bookstore
601 Independence Avenue SW
Washington D.C.

Chris Gainor
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posted 10-26-2008 08:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chris Gainor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

A photo taken at my book signing in Washington.

FFrench
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posted 09-27-2011 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego has a very limited number of copies of Chris Gainor's "To A Distant Day" signed by the foreword-author, Al Worden.

Al signed these copies to support the center's educational mission, and they are being sold at the standard price, no extra charge. They can be obtained from the museum's online store or by contacting Kathy Loder at the center's store.

Frederic Janik
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posted 09-28-2011 01:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Frederic Janik   Click Here to Email Frederic Janik     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Francis, very nice - and generous - offer.

Any chance for those outside the US to order a copy? The e-store did not allow me to do that.

FFrench
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posted 09-28-2011 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Frederic Janik:
Any chance for those outside the US to order a copy? The e-store did not allow me to do that.

I don't work there (although I used to many years ago) - but I believe that if you email Kathy Loder in the store at kloder(at)rhfleet.org she can process international orders. I hope so - good luck!

Frederic Janik
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posted 09-29-2011 02:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Frederic Janik   Click Here to Email Frederic Janik     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I confirm that Kathy has been great help - thanks again for the heads up.


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