This class, nicknamed "The New Guys," consisted of Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; Guy Bluford, the first African American in space; El Onizuka, the first Asian-American in space; Judy Resnick, the first Jewish American in space and the second American woman in space; Anna Fisher, the first mother and fourth American woman in space; Kathy Sullivan, the first American woman to perform a spacewalk; Rhea Seddon, the fifth woman to fly to space, who flew on three space shuttle missions; Shannon Lucid, who broke the record for the most time in space of any American astronaut and held the record for the most flight hours in orbit by any woman in the world until 2007; and Fred Gregory, the first African American to pilot and command a shuttle mission, and the first African American deputy director of NASA.
Bagby extensively researched oral histories, congressional hearings, investigative reports, and had exclusive access to and the cooperation of three of the first American women in space-Kathy Sullivan, Anna Fisher, and Rhea Seddon. She shares their race to be the first woman in space, and the first African American men to fly, Guy Bluford and Fred Gregory.
The New Guys defined a generation of space travel and helped to build the dream of a new American century in space that brought all of the human race along. The book also reveals some surprising facts about the New Guys and the Shuttle Program, such as the sticky situation of reapplying the heat-resistant tiles with a mixture containing technicians' spit, secret spy satellites that saved the first shuttle astronauts, and Sally Ride's covertly passing information to Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman about the limitations of the O-rings that ultimately doomed the Challenger Seven.
The book takes readers on a journey through the history of the shuttle program, which remains the most difficult undertaking in the history of NASA. Though initially touted as a commercial spaceplane that could make space travel routine and reliable, it was always a highly experimental test vehicle. Its flight history is dotted with nail-biting near misses, and it was responsible for the loss of fifteen astronauts in the Challenger and Columbia accidents and three NASA technicians.
Despite these tragedies, the shuttle was responsible for launching the Hubble Telescope, which made groundbreaking discoveries, and constructing the International Space Station, which is still in use today. The shuttle program defined an era of space travel and continues to inspire generations of scientists and explorers.
Overall, The New Guys is an immersive narrative that takes readers on a propulsive ride through the history of space travel. The book is a gripping account of America's mature manned space program that broke barriers and opened doors to a new frontier.
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THE NEW GUYS: The Historic Class of Astronauts that Changed the Face of Space Travel
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