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  Come Fly With Us! (Croft, Youskauskas)

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Author Topic:   Come Fly With Us! (Croft, Youskauskas)

Posts: 1531
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 11-27-2017 08:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John Youskauskas and I are pleased to announce that the manuscript of our book “Come Fly With Us: NASA’s Payload Specialist Program, 1983-86", has been sent to the University of Nebraska Press. This will be the latest volume in the highly successful Outward Odyssey series, and astronaut Don Thomas has kindly written a wonderful forward.

This fascinating account documents the earliest discussions by NASA leadership to fly non-professional astronauts onboard the space shuttle, and features the personal accounts of many of the payload specialists who were selected for the missions.

We were fortunate to have the cooperation of many NASA astronauts and payload specialists including Rick Chappell, Michael Lampton, Rodolfo Neri-Vela, Bob Cenker, and Loren Acton. The U.S. Air Force Manned Spaceflight Engineer program is detailed with the recollections of Gary Payton, Bill Pailes, Eric Sundberg, Brett Watterson, and Frank Casserino.

We were also faced with quite a daunting challenge, given the number of missions on which payload specialists were flown. Hence, we made the decision early on to focus on the missions of the 1980's through STS-51L. This first era of space shuttle missions featured European scientists, guests from France and Saudi Arabia, two Congressional observers, commercial engineers, and the highly publicized, yet ultimately ill-fated Teacher in Space program.

The MSE's operated in near-total secrecy for years as they labored to integrate their highly classified payloads into the orbiter that would launch them. An ambitious plan to launch space shuttles into polar orbit from the west coast would face daunting technical challenges, yet was nearly ready to fly when the Challenger disaster occurred.

This project has been a labor of love for both of us. We’ve tried to document an exciting aspect of the shuttle program while focusing on those 22 payload specialists who were fortunate enough to earn a seat on these early flights. We hope you’ll find it as engaging as it was to write.

We anticipate a late 2018 release, with much work still ahead before publication. We will keep everyone up to date as we get closer.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 38842
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-27-2017 09:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's great news Mel (and John)! Greatly looking forward to reading this when published...


Posts: 1937
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 11-27-2017 11:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having been involved in this book since its inception I can state that this is an exceptionally well-written, wonderfully researched labour of love by two very talented collectSPACE enthusiasts, and many of the interviews are extremely interesting and revealing. The book is scheduled for a Fall 2018 release by UNP and I can assure everyone will be well worth the wait.

Henry Heatherbank

Posts: 197
From: Adelaide, South Australia
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 11-28-2017 04:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I’ll buy, for sure.


Posts: 1531
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 12-19-2017 03:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Happy to hear today that the manuscript is entering the editorial phase.

The title has also been confirmed with a slight change in the subtitle. The new title is: Come Fly with Us: NASA’s Payload Specialist Program.

We removed the years 1983-86 as we do cover some of the post 1986 missions that carried payload specialists.

Credit goes to John for the title. He has a great story of how he came up with it.


Posts: 5818
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 02-07-2018 11:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Come Fly with Us: NASA's Payload Specialist Program
by Melvin Croft and John Youskauskas

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