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  Come Fly With Us (Croft, Youskauskas)

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Author Topic:   Come Fly With Us (Croft, Youskauskas)
MCroft04
Member

Posts: 1554
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 MSEs 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
Editor

Posts: 39295
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...

ColinBurgess
Member

Posts: 1947
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
Member

Posts: 201
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.

MCroft04
Member

Posts: 1554
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.

cspg
Member

Posts: 5881
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
Come Fly with Us is the story of an elite group of space travelers who flew as members of many space shuttle crews from pre-Challenger days to Columbia in 2003. Not part of the regular NASA astronaut corps, these professionals known as "payload specialists" came from a wide variety of backgrounds and were chosen for an equally wide variety of scientific, political, and national security reasons. Melvin Croft and John Youskauskas focus on this special fraternity of spacefarers and their individual reflections on living and working in space. Relatively unknown to the public and often flying only single missions, these payload specialists give the reader an unusual perspective on the experience of human spaceflight. The authors also bring to light NASA's struggle to integrate the wide-ranging personalities and professions of these men and women into the professional astronaut ranks.

While Come Fly with Us relates the experiences of the payload specialists up to and including the Challenger tragedy, the authors also detail the later high-profile flights of a select few, including Barbara Morgan, John Glenn (who returned to space at the age of seventy-seven), and Ilan Ramon of Israel aboard Columbia on its final, fatal flight, STS-107.

MCroft04
Member

Posts: 1554
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 04-21-2018 04:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The cover has now been released. Of course there is a story behind the cover (as well as the title). UNP editing process has been very good, but still another round of editing to go.

dom
Member

Posts: 761
From:
Registered: Aug 2001

posted 04-25-2018 01:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A beautiful and touching cover. This is one book I'm very much looking forward to reading...

Tallpaul
Member

Posts: 95
From: Rocky Point, NY, USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 04-25-2018 02:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tallpaul     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MCroft04:
The MSEs operated in near-total secrecy for years as they labored to integrate their highly classified payloads into the orbiter that would launch them.
Please pardon my ignorance but what does MSE mean? It is not defined anywhere in the text, or perhaps it is, and I just need new glasses. Is it Mission System Engineer, Mission Specialist Engineer, Mission Secret Engineer, or some other definition? Not all of us are versed in the jargon.

David C
Member

Posts: 748
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 04-25-2018 05:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's in the first post of this thread.
quote:
Originally posted by MCroft04:
The U.S. Air Force Manned Spaceflight Engineer program...

MCroft04
Member

Posts: 1554
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 04-25-2018 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't sweat not knowing what an MSE is. I didn't either when we began this odyssey. But I can assure you that after reading John's wonderful chapters on the MSEs, you'll know plenty!

But does anyone know what a CHIT is?

Tallpaul
Member

Posts: 95
From: Rocky Point, NY, USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 04-25-2018 06:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tallpaul     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Got it. Manned Spaceflight Engineer.

Convention is to put the initials of the phrase in parenthesis if it is to be referred to later. For example, Manned Spaceflight Engineer (MSE). At my age I'm easily confused.

328KF
Member

Posts: 1133
From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 04-25-2018 06:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A great example of what it's like to go through the editing process, which coincidentally was completed today!

MCroft04
Member

Posts: 1554
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 04-29-2018 03:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MCroft04:
But does anyone know what a CHIT is?
No takers on what a CHIT is, so I'll share. The CHIT was the "Crew's Honest Input to Training" during the training program for Spacelab 1. This was a multi-disciplinary mission (a wide variety of experiments) which required a lot of travel within the US and Europe.

The CHIT resulted in a lot of lessons learned which I originally included in the book, but once we realized we had to cut words, most of it was deleted.

The NASA astronauts had a tendency to loft missiles at the payload specialist program, and hence I often wondered if one of them came up with a word that began with an "S" to replace "Crew's" in the title. Guess I'll never know for sure, but if I were a betting man...

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