Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight before NASA

Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight before NASA

by Amy Shira Teitel


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781472911247
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 01/30/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 204,467
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Amy Shira Teitel is an expert in the history of science, with a lifelong passion for spaceflight. She has written for a number of online and print publications including Discovery News Space, Al-Jazeera, The Guardian, and Universe Today. She runs a thriving YouTube channel and blog (both called Vintage Space), and has appeared on the Discovery Channel, the Military channel, SyFy, and the Science channel, and she is a host on DNews, Discovery Channel's online daily news show. Amy was also an embedded journalist on the New Horizons team, bringing the excitement of humanity's first mission to Pluto to the space-loving public. She lives in Pasadena, California.

Table of Contents

Preface 8

Chapter 1 Hobby Rocketeers 11

Chapter 2 The Rocket Loophole 27

Chapter 3 The Turning Tide of War 53

Chapter 4 Escape and Surrender 71

Chapter 5 Nazi Rockets in New Mexico 89

Chapter 6 Rockets Meet Airplanes 107

Chapter 7 A New War, a New Missile, and a New Leader 123

Chapter 8 Higher and Faster 133

Chapter 9 Edging into Hypersonics 155

Chapter 10 The Floating Astronaut 171

Chapter 11 Space Becomes an Option 191

Chapter 12 The First Satellite Race 211

Chapter 13 One Little Ball's Big Impact 225

Chapter 14 The Fight to Control Space 251

Epilogue: America Finds Its Footing in Space 267

Glossary of People 271

Glossary of Places and Organizations 273

Glossary of Rockets 275

Selected Notes 277

Bibliography 290

Acknowledgments 297

Index 299

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Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight before NASA 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved Amy's way of writing and getting into what as NASA before NASA began
BrianIndianFan More than 1 year ago
Amy Shira Teitel has made a niche for herself in the science community through her Vintage Space YouTube page and twitter account (@atsvintagespace) discussing space-related topics. She took a very specialized area of study - science history - and created a means to share what she's found with her audience. One topic, even in the space nerd community that never gets a lot of discussion is the time period before the creation of NASA in 1958. It is this void that Ms. Teitel goes in search of the (under-)told story of those early days of spaceflight. This search obviously starts with Wernher von Braun and the Nazis. Even in the 1920s, von Braun and others in Germany were thinking ahead to a future with spaceflight. With most everything else in Germany during the change from the Weimar Republic to the Nazi, von Braun and his Verein fur Raumschiffahrt (VfR) associates were swept up in Hitler's grand designs to conquer Europe. While it can be stated that von Braun was in the SS, the author is sure to point out that von Braun was anything but a willing participant. As the war ended, von Braun knew his best chance was to cast his lot with the Americans. His Nazi past was to be an issue here and there, but lingering anti-German bigotry was put aside in the name of overcoming the alleged "missile gap" and later to catch up in the space race. We are given names, dates, programs, and acronyms that you almost need a program to keep them all straight. Fortunately, Ms. Teitel crafts a wonderful story that doesn't bore yet give the information to tell a good story. For fellow space nerds, it is literally the holy grail. The only real drawback to the story is the absence of early luminaries such as Robert Goddard. As she states in the preface, she wanted to make sure that this was a history that would be accessible to a wide audience, so certain elements were left out. Given that the main thrust of this history comes through German engineers, this is an understandable oversight and does not take away from the book. From her Instagram feed, it appears Ms. Teitel is working on another book. If so, this reviewer will welcome it with open arms as her first effort was a masterstroke of story-telling. BOTTOM LINE: Required reading for space nerds; good reading for the casual historian.