Rare views of the beginnings of the historic space program, selected and presented by two leading space flight authorities
“[An] excellent photographic history. . . . In its comprehensive approach and its introduction of images not often seen, Picturing the Space Shuttle is a collectible time capsule of the first decades of one of NASA’s crowning achievements.”—Foreword Reviews
“A rich, moving visual document, illuminating how the Shuttle revolutionized space vehicle development at a time when NASA needed something new, exciting, and truly revolutionary; while the program is over, its resonances are still very much felt.”—National Space Society Blog
“A marvelous visual history of the beginnings of the Space Shuttle that includes the test flights of Enterprise and the early orbital missions of Columbia—I flew them both, and turning the pages in this book is a joy. There are many never-before-published photographs of the people, coast to coast, that made it happen. This book reminds us all of the birth of the world’s greatest flying machine!”—Richard H. Truly, Shuttle astronaut and former NASA administrator
“This book is unlike any other with its comprehensive behind-the-scenes descriptions and photos of the Shuttle’s development through orbital flight testing. It is an exceptional look at the ground-breaking Shuttle program and many contributors who have either been overlooked or forgotten.”—Vance Brand, Apollo and shuttle astronaut
“The shuttle was the first reusable spacecraft for operations in Earth orbit, a spectacular ‘flying machine.’ It was a vital interim step to spaceflights back to the Moon and onward to Mars. Bisney and Pickering have authored a unique visual history of its beginnings, including my mission. Thanks for bringing back great memories and for documenting it thoroughly, accurately, and pictorially. Well done!”—Jack Lousma, Skylab and shuttle astronaut
“Another great collection of rare images and stories from Bisney and Pickering, this time documenting the creation and first flights of the world’s first reusable spaceship. Space fans everywhere will want this book!”—Andrew Chaikin, author of A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts
“The best history of the early Space Shuttle I’ve ever read, illustrated with scores of pictures I’d never seen. I lived and worked the Space Shuttle program but this book brought new insights even for me.”—Hugh W. Harris, retired director of public affairs, NASA, Kennedy Space Center
“Pickering is one of the world’s leading experts on human spaceflight photography, and his works are the benchmarks against which all other photo-driven, NASA-related projects must be measured.”—Rick Houston, coauthor of Go, Flight! The Unsung Heroes of Mission Control, 1965–1992
“Once again Bisney and Pickering have put together a collection of photos with insightful text that brings to life a part of our space program history. With a focused attention on the early days and first four missions of the Space Shuttle program, this book recalls the origins of an ambitious new era that filled us with hope for a bright post-Apollo future of living and working in space.”—Jim Banke, former aerospace journalist and president of MILA Solutions, LLC
“A wonderful collection of rare photos that make you relive the exciting early years of the Space Shuttle program.”—Ed Hengeveld, spaceflight historian
After the excitement of the first Moon landing, the U.S. space program took an ambitious new direction closer to home: NASA’s Space Shuttle program promised frequent access to Earth orbit for medical and scientific breakthroughs; deploying, repairing, and maintaining satellites; and assembling a space station. Picturing the Space Shuttle: The Early Years is the first photographic history of the program’s early years as the world’s first spaceplane debuted.
Showcasing over 450 unpublished and lesser-known images, this book traces the growth of the Space Shuttle from 1965 to 1982, from initial concept through its first four space flights. The photographs offer windows into designing the first reusable space vehicle as well as the construction and testing of the prototype shuttle Enterprise. They also show the factory assembly and delivery of the Space Shuttle Columbia, preparations at the major NASA field centers, and astronaut selection and training. Finally, the book devotes a chapter to each of the first four orbital missions, STS-1 through STS-4, providing an abundance of seldom-seen photos for each flight.
Mostly selected from J. L. Pickering’s personal archive, the world’s largest private collection of U.S. human space flight images, the high-quality photographs in this book are paired with veteran journalist John Bisney’s detailed descriptions and historical background information. The book also includes images of NASA and shuttle contractor booklets, manuals, access badges, and press kits, as well as a foreword by Robert Crippen, the pilot of the first Space Shuttle flight. Picturing the Space Shuttle re-creates the excitement of an era in which the possibilities of space exploration seemed limitless.
John Bisney is a journalist who has covered the space program for CNN, the Discovery Science Channel, and SiriusXM Radio.
J. L. Pickering is a spaceflight historian and authority who has been archiving rare space images for 50 years. Together, they have coauthored many books, including Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments.