Emphasizing the importance of the space programme to the scientific, social and cultural history of the last half of the 20th century, this brief history celebrates the almost unimaginable technological leap that the space programme represents, a feat of teamwork, innovation, dedication and mastery unprecedented in the history of mankind. Walsh's narrative begins just before the Mercury programme, covers the original seven astronauts, the Gemini and Apollo programmes, through Skylab and up to the space shuttle. The glories and emotion of space exploration are presented against the backdrop of the Cold War, the presidential administrations of Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford and Carter, and other singificant events in US history. The positive accomplishments of the astronauts are put in context of an increasingly negative domestic situation in the '60s and '70s, the Bay of Pigs, civil rights, assassinations, growing involvement in and dissension about Vietnam, the Watergate scandal, and Nixon's resignation.
NASA Lifts Off - the 1950s; Project Mercury - Setting the Sights; Project Gemini - a Bridge to the Moon; Apollo I - Lives in Eclipse; Apollo Before the Moon - Into the Light; Apollo XI - Life on an Ancient World; Apollo XII and XIII - Storms in Space; Before the Short Day Ends -Apollo in Twilight; Skylab - a Place in Space; ASTP - a Handshake Across the Heavens; The 1970s - Journey's Without and Within; Echoes - the Shuttle Era and Beyond.