Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA's Record-Setting Frequent Flyer

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Overview

From the age of ten, looking up at the stars, Jerry Ross knew that he wanted to journey into space. This autobiography tells the story of how he came not only to achieve that goal, but to become the most-launched astronaut in history, as well as a NASA veteran whose career spanned the entire U.S. Space Shuttle program. From his childhood in rural Indiana, through education at Purdue University, and a career in the U.S. Air Force, Ross charted a path to NASA after overcoming many setbacks—from failing to qualify ...

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Overview

From the age of ten, looking up at the stars, Jerry Ross knew that he wanted to journey into space. This autobiography tells the story of how he came not only to achieve that goal, but to become the most-launched astronaut in history, as well as a NASA veteran whose career spanned the entire U.S. Space Shuttle program. From his childhood in rural Indiana, through education at Purdue University, and a career in the U.S. Air Force, Ross charted a path to NASA after overcoming many setbacks—from failing to qualify for Air Force pilot training because of “bad” eyesight, to an initial failure to be selected into the astronaut program. The majority of the book is an insider’s account of the U.S. Space Shuttle program, including the unforgettable experience of launch, the delights of weightless living, and the challenges of constructing the International Space Station. Ross is a uniquely qualified narrator.

During seven spaceflights, he spent 1,393 hours in space, including 58 hours and 18 minutes on nine space walks. Life on the ground is also described, including the devastating experiences of the Challenger and Columbia disasters. For readers who have followed the space program from Mercury through the International Space Station and wonder what comes next, this book provides fascination; for young people interested in space exploration and reaching for their dreams, whatever they might be, this book provides inspiration. Full of stories of spaceflight that few humans have ever experienced, told with humor and honesty, Spacewalker presents a unique perspective on the hard work, determination, and faith necessary to travel beyond this world.   Key Points: ·       An insider’s account of the U.S. Space Shuttle program, from before its first launch through the final landing, and the building of the International            Space Station. ·       A firsthand account of life in space from the first human to fly seven missions.       ·       An inspirational story of a personal journey from rural Indiana to outer space, powered by a deep Christian faith.    

 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Colonel Ross, the most-launched astronaut in US Space Shuttle history, paints an insider's portrait of life following the stars. A man of great faith, as well as a determined and relentless worker whose goal was to fly in space, Ross details his childhood, years at Purdue, career in the Air Force, and upward journey to achieve honors in the multi-faceted space industry. His writing addresses technical subjects with ease and clarity, and readers will not only feel the thrill of being in space, but also the anxieties and discomforts. "From our normal orbital altitude of about two hundred miles, I could see more than one thousand miles in any direction...From low Earth orbit one can see a sunrise and a sunset every ninety minutes, each more vivid, unusual, and beautiful than the last." It was not all success, however, as he faced the devastating losses of the Challenger and Columbia, accidents that took the lives of friends. Over his long career, Ross aided the development of the International Space Station and groundbreaking international partnerships; his is a fascinating story of daring in a bygone era of space exploration. 33 color and 8 b/w illustrations.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557536310
  • Publisher: Purdue University Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2013
  • Pages: 274
  • Sales rank: 485,350
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jerry Lynn Ross is an Indiana native, a graduate of Purdue University, a retired United States Air Force officer, and a former astronaut who retired from NASA in 2012. He is a veteran of seven U.S. Space Shuttle missions and holds an individual world record for the most spaceflights flown. John Norberg is a writer based in West Lafayette, Indiana. He is an experienced journalist and the author of five books, including Wings of Their Dreams (2003) about the role of aviation’s pioneers and trailblazers in the history of flight and space.

 

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Table of Contents

Foreword Eugene A. Cernan xi

Prologue Jim Gentleman xv

1 Sputnik, a mouse, and blackberry pie 1

2 "Look to your left and look to your right" 29

3 "My daddy is an astronaut…" 51

4 The no-names 79

5 "Liftoff! We have liftoff!" 105

6 "Obviously a major malfunction" 139

7 Two more boarding passes 175

8 The John Young glass ceiling 195

9 "Lock the doors" 217

10 Blessed, happy, thankful…and surprised! 235

My Journey-A Timeline 247

STS-61 B-Anatomy of a Launch 251

Index 255

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2013

    A wonderful read! It's as if he's sitting across a table from y

    A wonderful read! It's as if he's sitting across a table from you and telling you his story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2013

    A truly amazing book. Mr. Ross takes you inside the space progr

    A truly amazing book. Mr. Ross takes you inside the space program and on the space journeys
    as if you are right there with him. It was a totally moving piece of history and he explains what happened to the Challenger and the Columbia. A truly moving book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    This is the ultimate, real, space adventure. When I was young, m

    This is the ultimate, real, space adventure. When I was young, my favorite Sci-Fi character was Tom Corbett, Space Cadet. It was about young men who wanted to become spacemen. “Spacewalker” is the modern version of that Sci-Fi adventure, only this story is real.

    This is the book for any boy or girl, man or woman, who has aspirations of becoming an astronaut. It’s a text book on what one needs to do, the hurdles to overcome, and how to achieve the dream of space flight. But it’s more than that; it’s also a roadmap to success for anyone, regardless of what direction their dreams take them.

    The book’s easy style puts you right into Jerry Ross’ shoes, and you live the adventure as if you were there. Northern Indiana farm boy Jerry Ross grew up dreaming about the stars and one day going out into space. He faced many obstacles along the way and had to deal with tragedy and setbacks. Jerry’s determination and trust in God to guide him were the keys to his successful journey through life and his record setting journeys into space.

    Jerry’s book is a history book as well as a true-life adventure. It’s an inside study of America’s exploration of space from the Apollo to the Space Shuttle to the International Space Station. What a wonderful read! James B. Warner, Greenback, TN

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  • Posted February 7, 2013

    What a great book! Jerry Ross does a fantastic job of conveying

    What a great book! Jerry Ross does a fantastic job of conveying the excitement and fun of being an astronaut. He tells some great stories about space flight from an "everyman's" perspective. He also gives some insite on the Challenger and especially Columbia disasters(he was in charge of the orbiter debris recovery team). I was looking forward to John Young's auto-biography, but that one pales in comparison to this one. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in what an astonaut's job really is.

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  • Posted February 6, 2013

    A Great American Tale! Exciting, Fun and Inspirational! "Th

    A Great American Tale! Exciting, Fun and Inspirational! "There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul" (Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables). This is a story about reaching the sky and is communicated from the soul. Jerry Ross tells a story that succeeds on many levels. This is a well structured piece with a fine selection of photos. It is a heartfelt, nostalgic journal of a wholesome regular guy growing up in rural middleclass America, who through hard work, perseverance, and intelligence progresses to the highest level of achievement in his field. Colonel Ross has been a major force in the success of NASA's space shuttle program from beginning to end. He holds many records for space flight and spacewalks. Portrayed are the loving, hardworking parents, caring family and wholesome community that provided a solid foundation for Jerry to succeed. This is a story that embodies the joy of living and living it to the fullest. It is a story of the greatest explorers of our age. It is a chronological record of modern man's greatest and most exciting adventure. It is a story of hope for a better life on this planet. The importance of this story cannot be overstated. Throughout his life Jerry has maintained the common touch and is amazed at his own success and good fortune. With constant support of his loving wife Karen and children Amy and Scott, he kept close a strong personal support system. He gives credit to God, family and friends for all he has been blessed with. A spiritual dimension is communicated beautifully with vivid and deeply felt descriptions of earth and the universe from his vantage point in space. It is all here, the tears and the laughter, the tragedy and the comedy. Tales of comradery, friendship, good natured pranks, and comical moments are interspersed throughout this story. The full spectrum of human emotions are communicated beautifully and effectively. "Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, ends in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you" (Ernest Hemingway, author of For Whom the Bell Tolls). This element is poignantly told with detailed analysis of the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters that took many precious lives. Jerry and his fellow space explorers are our best and brightest who put themselves in harm's way to serve a greater good. Though the space program has been delayed we should move forward to honor these brave souls. No time must be lost to take full advantage of the amazing amount of knowledge and experience that has been acquired through these missions. Possibly with special funding, and compassionate, ethical investors, we can move forward and continue to reach goals that surpass our wildest dreams. Jerry's story represents the heart of the American dream. It is the American dream. This book is for every human being as a source of inspiration. ATTENTION FILMMAKERS: Would this not make a wonderful story for film in the tradition of The Right Stuff and Apollo 13? Thank You

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  • Posted February 4, 2013

    So you want to be an astronaut....or at least find out what it's

    So you want to be an astronaut....or at least find out what it's like. Jerry's book takes you from his childhood dream of flygoing into outerspace to what it's actually like at the first moments of takeoff to getting into the his spacesuit to spending hours
    walking in space and everything inbetween. It's the closest most of us will ever get to knowing what spaceflight and spacewalking feels like. Loved every minute of it. Jerry is a great inspiration to anyone who has a dream that seems unreachable. Jerry did it and so can anyone who is as honest, hardworking and determined as Jerry was.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    Incredible book!

    Incredible book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    Spacewalker is a great read if you have any interest in NASA and

    Spacewalker is a great read if you have any interest in NASA and Human Spaceflight. Jerry Ross tells a very inspirational story about achieving his childhood dreams of flying in space, and setting several records along the way. The author recalls several stories along the way, and also offers insight from friends and family at times to get another prospective. This book will leave you with a much better understanding of what it takes to become an astronaut, as well as what it's like to live and work in micro-gravity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Jerry Ross is truly an American Hero. SPACEWALKER is a story ab

    Jerry Ross is truly an American Hero. SPACEWALKER is a story about a young boy's dream to travel in outer

    space. SPACEWALKER is a story about a man's hard work, perseverance, patience, and faith to follow God's Will to a goal even grater than he had hope for. SPACEWALKER is one individual's story to what has made this a great nation. The pictures in the book make it personal, up close with Jerry's family and friends. Inserted comments from Jerry's family and friends make it a story about a real person. One of my favorite parts of the book is on page 78, it starts with "The core of the message." This is a book for all ages, an inspiration to life's possibilities.

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  • Posted January 8, 2013

    An Out of this World Adventure Strap in and get ready to take o

    An Out of this World Adventure

    Strap in and get ready to take off with Spacewalker.  Astronaut Jerry Ross takes you on a journey to space that began as a youth in Northwest Indiana.  He shares his life showing how his relationships with his friends, parents, and even grandparents encouraged him in his dream to be an astronaut, a fanciful career for a boy in the 50’s.  Throughout the book the reader will enjoy hearing excerpts from friends, colleagues, wife and kids, about how they remembered the events at hand.

    Spacewalker will take you through the journey of space via the life of Jerry Ross.  You will face the challenges and obstacles, the glory and defeats, and the celebrations and the sorrows.   You will feel the booster rockets as they hurtle him in to space seven times, but you will also feel the tears and the pains as he struggles with the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger and the search and recovery of Space Shuttle Columbia.

    Through the adventures of Jerry Ross we are encouraged to persevere through our obstacles, setbacks and challenges and by faith, give God glory for our victories.  Throughout his life, Jerry took the advice of Al Bean and never passed up the opportunity to take care of the necessities of life.  This is a very well written book that I have and will highly recommend.  For sure, Jerry can tell Dan Brandenstien, “He didn’t screw this up.”  

    Space Walker excerpts:

    Apollo astronaut Al Bean gave me one of the most important pieces of advice that I ever received about being an astronaut. He said, “When you’re out doing public appearances, never pass up the opportunity to use a restroom.

    In 1988 just before STS-61B, Dan Brandenstein, then Chief of the Astronaut Office, said he would like to lead them in prayer, he then paused and said, “God help you if you screw up. Amen.”

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  • Posted January 4, 2013

    Jerry Ross is one of the lucky ones. Millions of kids ¿ and ad

    Jerry Ross is one of the lucky ones.

    Millions of kids – and adults, for that matter – dream of one day becoming an astronaut. What must it be like to strap onto the side of a rocket and then be launched into space? The view from orbit. Weightlessness. Living and working on the International Space Station. Performing spacewalks to help build it. It’s all unreal.

    Ross had wanted nothing more than to fly in space for almost as long as he could remember, just like the rest of us. Ross’ dream, though, actually came true. He was able to experience the wonders of spaceflight for himself, and he never forgot what it felt like to live out a dream.

    Now retired from NASA, Ross still has the same kind of almost childlike joy when it comes to spaceflight as he did the day he entered the astronaut office more than 30 years ago. Ross loves spaceflight, and it shows, big time, in this fine effort.

    This isn’t just another astronaut autobiography. Everyone who ever flew in space was fully invested in the business of getting to orbit and then coming back again, and each has an amazing story to tell. What separates Spacewalker from the rest of the pack is that it’s the memoir of one of the best-known spacefarers of the Shuttle era, and certainly one of the most accomplished.

    Ross has seven flights to his credit, and only one other person in the history of human spaceflight had as many. No one had more. Nine times – and maybe ten, but he’s still not confirming one way or the other, not even here in his own autobiography – he ventured outside for spacewalks. He developed tools and methods to construct the ISS on the ground and in space as well, and was then able to put them into practice on STS-88, the first station construction flight.

    Still, Ross comes across as a humble man, thankful for the opportunities he was given. Some of the best parts of Spacewalker are contributions from his family –wife, Karen; daughter Amy; and son Scott – which are interspersed throughout the text. They portray Ross not as a superhero astronaut, but as a husband and father, not at all different than your next-door neighbor.

    Spacewalker is a book that was begging to be written, and now that it has been, it’s an essential read for anyone even remotely interested in human spaceflight. Don’t miss it.

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