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Author Topic:   Photographing America's First Astronauts

Posts: 6346
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 10-18-2022 09:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Photographing America's First Astronauts: Project Mercury Through the Lens of Bill Taub by J.L. Pickering and John Bisney, Foreword by Eugene Kranz
Featuring more than 600 photos, "Photographing America's First Astronauts: Project Mercury Through the Lens of Bill Taub" is the most complete photographic account of Project Mercury ever published. Previous Project Mercury books largely have relied on the relatively limited number of photos released by NASA. This book, however, showcases hundreds of never-before-seen images of America's first manned space program by NASA's first staff photographer, Bill Taub.

Taub went everywhere with the Mercury astronauts, capturing their daily activities from 1959 to 1963. As a result, his photos provide a unique and intimate behind-the-scenes look at the people and operations of Project Mercury in real time.

Drawing on Taub's recently discovered archive of thousands of black-and-white and color prints, slides, and transparencies, this is the first book to comprehensively visually document Project Mercury. No previous book has devoted as many images to each of the Mercury Seven astronauts and their pioneering spaceflights.

Other chapters cover astronaut selection and training, NASA management, and facilities at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Each image is accompanied by a detailed caption. The foreword is by legendary NASA Flight Director Eugene Kranz.


Posts: 6346
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 10-22-2022 10:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice cover!

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 50391
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-03-2023 12:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
New book reveals NASA photographer's unseen Mercury astronaut archives

Chances are, you have seen photographs taken by Bill Taub.

As NASA's first senior photographer, Taub was there to capture the start of the United States' human spaceflight program. Sixty-two years ago this week, it was Taub who was behind the camera as Alan Shepard climbed aboard his Mercury spacecraft "Freedom 7" to become the first American to launch into space.

Those photos, taken on May 5, 1961, have been published countless times over during the past six decades.

But as iconic as some of Taub's images are, it is only now that the public is getting to see the full extent of his work.


Posts: 55
From: Palm Coast, Florida
Registered: Feb 2014

posted 05-06-2023 07:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tlifan2   Click Here to Email tlifan2     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just got my copy yesterday and it is fantastic. So many photos I have never seen before and the chronological information is wonderful. I highly recommend this book if you have an interest in Project Mercury.

Rick Mulheirn

Posts: 4520
From: England
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 05-07-2023 08:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Ken Havekotte

Posts: 3609
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 05-07-2023 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just got my hands on a copy of Photographing America's First Astronauts (thanks to J.L. Pickering) and what a terrific photo-archive of NASA's first photographer Bill Taub it is.

Noted authors J.L. Pickering and John Bisney have once again joined forces in putting together another unique series of Space Age photography books. This one is devoted to the photo career of Taub with the approval and support of his family.

There are hundreds of perhaps never-seen before photographs of NASA's Project Mercury years. Most are published in their original black-n-white formats (but with many color shots as well).

One of my favorite pictures that I have not seen before, since I am an aerospace memorabilia collector, was on Page 186 at top. It shows John Glenn at a post-flight party in Cocoa Beach receiving a special gift from his MA-6 launch team of a multi-pin launch umbilical connector encased in a nice acrylic. Such photos as this are rarely seen and help document and spotlight those earlier space memento gifts.

There are so many photo-topics included of our nation's first-man-in space program covered in the 311-page hard-cover book. Some of those photos that were of interest to me are:

"Area 39" of the Cape

JFK visits to the Cape and the White
House by the astronauts, top ranking
Mercury officials, and their families

Other astronaut family visits to the Cape

Some great Cocoa Beach parade scenes

A station wagon vehicle parked on Pad's 5
concrete base for covering a pre-launch
pad activity as a press pool coordinator

Not too often seen news media related
views in and around the Cape area

"The People of Mercury" with pictures of
space workers with many of them wearing
badges and pinbacks (all from a space
memorabilia angle in being a collector)

Unseen Deke Slayton photos of him in a
Mercury spacesuit and others of him
during those pioneering Mercury days

Some great Mercury launch vehicle and
spacecraft views

Inside the first astronaut quarters at
Hangar S with three shots that I can't
recall seeing before

Shorty Powers joking around with the
Mercury 7 astronaut team while standing
in front of a F-106 jet at Langley Air
Force Base

There is even a photo of a Mercury spacecraft model made from a trash can with the lid used for the heat shield (an impressive piece of work) surrounded by 5 of the 7 astronauts.

Another shot that I like depicts Scott Carpenter signing a lot of his portrait lithos while on an airplane flight from Patrick AFB to Washington, D.C. as his daughter Kristen looks on.

On a personal note, it was good to see Chapter 10, "Beyond Mercury," as I had been a part of those events and was even asked by Howard Benedict and Alan Shepard for the The Mercury 7 Foundation to accompany the former Mercury astronauts on their first visits to the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and U.S. Space Camp in Titusville. I even served as an observer consultant and volunteer photographer in helping document some of those earlier visits and events. That chapter brought back some memories long ago.

Great stuff J.L. and John and what a well-deserved tribute to Bill Taub's Mercury photography career. Well done guys!

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