Reviewed Nonfiction Books alphabetically by author
Voyages of Discovery: The Missions of the Space Shuttle Discovery (2010). Excellent documentation of all of Space Shuttle Discovery’s journeys and crews through 2010. Aldrin, Buzz, and Ken Abraham.
No Dream Is too High: Life Lessons from a Man Who Walked on the Moon (2016). A half memoir and half inspirational self-help book, using Aldrin’s stories as a backdrop for broad life lessons. Aldrin, Buzz, and Leonard David.
Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration (2013). Apollo astronaut and developer of the Aldrin Mars Cycler which could provide regular service between Earth and Mars, gives his vision of humanity’s future in space. Anderson, Clayton C.
The Ordinary Spaceman: From Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut (2015). An astronaut biography displaying dogged persistence and unwillingness to give up on a lifetime goal to fly in space. Anderson, Eric, and Joshua Piven.
The Space Tourist’s Handbook (2005). The “wealthy hitchhiker’s” guide to space, with emphasis on the details of a Soyuz launch to the International Space Station. Ansari, Anousheh.
My Dream of Stars: From Daughter of Iran to Space Pioneer (2010). The heartfelt story of the first woman to travel in space as a paying passenger. Badescu, Viorel (editor).
Mars: Prospective Energy and Material Resources (2010). Fully referenced research papers focusing on the technologies necessary for humans to someday live and thrive on the surface of Mars. Baker, Dr. David.
NASA Space Shuttle Owners’ Workshop Manual (2011). Encyclopedic volume of information about the Space Shuttle. Barbree, Jay.
Live from Cape Canaveral (2007). A master reporter makes the last 50 years of spaceflight come alive. Barbree, Jay.
Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight (2014). Dramatic and entertaining account of Neil Armstrong’s flying career. Beattie, Donald A.
ISScapades (2007). Does an admirable job of providing the reader with an understanding of why we have the space station we have. Belfiore, Michael.
Rocketeers (2007). A personal glimpse into the space entrepreneur and why people will risk fortunes and even their lives in an effort to open space to a wider audience. Bell, Jim.
Postcards from Mars (2006). A coffee-table book of fabulous photos that also includes the compelling human story behind the successful Spirit and Opportunity rovers. Bell, Sherry.
Living in Space (2009). 21 essays on the cultural and social dynamics, opportunities, and challenges in permanent space habitats. Benaroya, Haym (editor).
Lunar Settlements (2010). Comprehensive collection of papers from the 2007 Rutgers University Symposium on Lunar Settlements. Benaroya, Haym.
Turning Dust to Gold: Building a Future on the Moon and Mars (2010). The goal of this book is to demonstrate that expanding our civilization to the Moon and beyond is not beyond our reach, intellectually or financially. Benford, James, and Gregory Benford, editors.
Starship Century: Toward the Grandest Horizon (2013). Science fact and fiction on the status of and prospects for interstellar travel. Bennett, Jeffrey.
To Rise From Earth: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to Spaceflight, 2nd Edition (2000). An in-depth, straight-forward, visually pleasing description of all aspects of spaceflight. Bisney, John, and J. L. Pickering.
Spaceshots & Snapshots of Projects Mercury & Gemini: A Rare Photographic History (2015). Beautifully produced book of 689 photographs with detailed captions that provide a wealth of information. Bizony, Piers.
The Space Shuttle: Celebrating Thirty Years of NASA’s First Space Plane (2011). If you want a 300-page photo album of stunning photographs of the space shuttle, this is a must. Bond, Peter.
Distant Worlds: Milestones in Planetary Exploration (2007). Compelling account of what 50 years of space missions have told us about all the bodies in the solar system. Boozer, R. D.
The Plundering of NASA: An Exposé (2013). “How pork barrel politics harm American spaceflight leadership.” Bourland, Charles T., and Gregory Vogt.
The Astronaut’s Cookbook: Tales, Recipes, and More (2009). This book is an overview of how “space food” is made and a description of the problems involved, as well as an actual cookbook. Brake, Mark.
Alien Life Imagined: Communicating the Science and Culture of Astrobiology (2012). How the portrayal of extraterrestrial life has developed over the last 2500 years. Brand, Vance.
Flying Higher and Faster (2016). An astronaut biography from the perspective of one who spanned both the Apollo and Shuttle eras. Brzezinski, Matthew.
Red Moon Rising (2007). Captures the essence of the opening of the Space Age with masterful political savvy. Buckbee, Ed (Editor).
50 Years of Rockets & Spacecraft: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (2009). Documenting the history of Marshall Space Flight Center from the 1950s through 2008, including many insider stories. Burgess, Colin, editor.
Footprints in the Dust: The Epic Voyages of Apollo, 1969-1975 (2010). Nine writers in twelve chapters cover not only the historical facts, but the human side, including civilian and astronaut perspectives. Burrough, Bryan.
Dragonfly: NASA and the Crisis Aboard Mir (1998). The fascinating inside story of seven American astronauts and their missions to the dangerously decaying Mir space station. Buss, Jared S.
Willey Ley: Prophet of the Space Age (2017). This is the first biography of Willy Ley, the popular science writer who did more than anyone else to explain the science and technology of the dawning Space Age to the American public, and who died of a heart attack less than a month before Neil Armstrong put the first bootprint on the Moon. Cadbury, Deborah.
Space Race: The Epic Battle between America and the Soviet Union for Dominion of Space (2006). A somewhat pedestrian account of the epic tale of two dreamers on opposite sides of the “battle” for the heavens: Wernher von Braun and Sergei Korolev. Cavallaro, Umberto.
Women Spacefarers: Sixty Different Paths to Space (2017). Biographies of sixty women who have flown in space. Carroll, Michael.
Drifting on Alien Winds (2011). Vivid descriptions, stunning photo assemblies, and inspiring original artwork provide a grand tour of solar system weather. Carroll, Michael.
Picture This! Grasping the Dimensions of Time and Space (2016). An understandable introduction to astronomy with vivid illustrations of astronomical distances. Carroll, Michael.
The Seventh Landing: Going Back to the Moon, This Time to Stay (2009). Presents many logical reasons for a permanent return to the Moon as the next step in human exploration of our universe, with exciting illustrations by the author. Chaikin, Andrew.
A Passion for Mars (2008). The author of the landmark A Man on the Moon offers striking new information about humankind’s quest for the Red Planet. Chaikin, Andrew, with Victoria Kohl.
Voices from the Moon (2009). High-def photos combined with the words of the lunar astronauts themselves makes this book a cut above. Clary, David A.
Rocket Man: Robert H. Goddard and the Birth of the Space Age (2003). This balanced biography provides a fascinating look at this unique, talented, and contradictory man who was the unquestioned pioneer of liquid rocket propulsion in America. Cockell, Charles S.
Space on Earth: Saving Our World By Seeking Others (2007). “Environmentalism and space exploration have one and the same objective: to ensure humanity has a home.” Darling, David, and Dirk Schulze-Makuch.
Megacatastrophes (2012). An astronomer and an astrobiologist describe nine ways the world could end. Dawson, Linda.
The Politics and Perils of Space Exploration (2016). A wide ranging introduction to historical and current space programs with both factual accounts and political analysis. Dean, James D. and Bertram Ulrich, editors.
NASA/ART: 50 Years of Exploration (2008). Showcases some of the paintings that NASA commissioned as part of its historic art program. Dean, Margaret Lazarus.
Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Space Flight (2015). The author asks “What does it mean that we went to space for 50 years, and then decided not to anymore?…What does it mean to stop exploring?” Dewar, James.
The Nuclear Rocket: Making our Planet Green, Peaceful and Prosperous (2009). Argues that the nuclear reactor is the only viable primary source of economical rocket power. Dewar, James A.
To the End of the Solar System: The Story of the Nuclear Rocket (2008). A comprehensive description of the technical details of the development and testing of the nuclear rocket as well as the politics that sealed its fate. Diamandis, Peter, and Steven Kotler.
Abundance (2012). The authors masterfully synthesize data on the forces that can make nine billion people live a life of abundance within 25 years. Dickinson, Terrence.
Hubble’s Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images (2014).The universe is the ultimate art gallery, and this beautiful coffee-table book is a splendid guide to the visual treasures of space. Doran, James, and Piers Bizony.
Starman: The Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin (2011). The real story of Yuri Gagarin came to light when the people and archives of the U.S.S.R. became accessible to dedicated western journalists in the 1990s. Dubbs, Charles, and Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom.
Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Spaceflight (2011). A fascinating and detailed history of private spaceflight attempts. Dyson, Marianne.
A Passion for Space: Adventures of a Pioneering Female NASA Flight Controller (2015). What was it like to be one of the first women working in NASA’s Mission Control in the early days of the space shuttle? Dyson, Marianne J.
Space and Astronomy: Decade by Decade (2007). A clear and easy-to-understand resource for high school and college students, educators and the general public. Eisele, Donn.
Apollo Pilot: The Memoir of Astronaut Donn Eisele (2017). Memoir of the pilot of the first Apollo flight into space, published thirty years after his death. Engdahl, Sylvia.
The Planet-Girded Suns (2012). A thought-provoking history of human thought about extrasolar worlds. For young adult to adult. Erisman, Fred.
Boys’ Books, Boys’ Dreams, and the Mystique of Flight (2006). A fun yet academic study of juvenile aviation adventure book series from 1910-1950, entwined with the scientific advances of the era covered. Evans, Ben.
At Home in Space: The Late Seventies Into the Eighties (2012). The third brilliant volume of A History of Human Space Exploration. Evans, Ben.
Escaping the Bonds of Earth: The Fifties and the Sixties (2009). A comprehensive and finely crafted history of human spaceflight through Apollo 8. Evans, Ben.
Foothold in the Heavens: The Seventies (2010). Volume 2 of a comprehensive analysis of the history of human spaceflight. Evans, Ben.
Partnership in Space: The Mid to Late Nineties (2013). Book five of the monumental History of Human Space Exploration. Evans, Ben.
Tragedy and Triumph in Orbit: The Eighties and Early Nineties(2012). The fourth volume of A History of Human Space Exploration allows the reader to see how truly breathtaking these space adventures were. Evans, Ben.
The Twenty-First Century In Space (2015). The sixth and final volume of space historian Ben Evans’ monumental History of Human Space Exploration series. Evans, Michelle.
The X-15 Rocket Plane: Flying the First Wings into Space (2013). The definitive book on the X-15, the men who flew her, and the managers and support people who kept her flying. Feuerbacher, Berndt, and Heinz Stoewer, editors.
Utilization of Space (2005). A comprehensive scholarly book addressing how space contributes to the advancement and betterment of human society. Freeman, Marsha.
Krafft Ehricke’s Extraterrestrial Imperative (2009). Biography and selected writings of one of the great thinkers of the space age. Fredriksen, John C.
Men Into Space (2012). The story of the 1959 television series about human space flight. Friedman, Louis.
Human Spaceflight: From Mars to the Stars (2015). An excellent review of solar sail technology and a plea for settling Mars. Gainor, Chris.
To a Distant Day: The Rocket Pioneers (2013). A useful overview of the period leading up to the first human spaceflights. Gallentine, Jay.
Infinity Beckoned: Adventuring Through the Inner Solar System, 1969-1989 (2016). Amazingly detailed behind-the-scenes account of both Soviet and American unmanned space programs targeting the Moon, Mars, and Venus. Gangler, Doug.
The Road to Modern Rocketry: Launch Bases, Centers, Museums, Memorials, and Monuments (2014). More than a history, this book is a visitor’s guide to the world’s launch bases, centers, museums, memorials, and monuments. Garan, Ron.
The Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles (2015). Astronaut Garan describes how we can all gain an “orbital perspective” to guide and inspire our efforts to build a better world. Godwin, Robert (editor).
Apollo 13: NASA Mission Reports (40th Anniversary Edition) (2010). In-depth data about all aspects of the craft, crew, mission, and accident investigation. Godwin, Robert.
The Lunar Exploration Scrapbook (2007). A fascinating tour of more than 200 proposed lunar vehicles, with beautiful color illustrations and designs that until now have existed only as blueprints. Grego, Peter.
Mars and How to Observe It (2012). A treasure trove of information about Mars and how to observe it from Earth. Gurtuna, Ozgur.
Fundamentals of Space Business and Economics (2013). An overview of key topics related to space business and management, with case studies. Guthrie, Julian.
How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight (2016). The life story of Peter Diamandis, and the story of his crowning achievement so far, the X-Prize. Hadfield, Chris.
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (2013). “What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything.” Hadfield, Chris.
You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photographs from the International Space Station (2014). Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s photos from the International Space Station provide a delight on every page. Hall, Loretta.
The Complete Space Buff’s Bucket List (2016). 100 space-themed activities to participate in and places to visit. Hall, Loretta.
Out Of This World: New Mexico’s Contributions to Space Travel (2011). From Goddard’s early rockets to a modern spaceport. For young adult to adult. Hall, Loretta.
Space Pioneers: In Their Own Words (2014). Oral histories from many people you might not otherwise have heard from. Hansen, James R.
First Man (2005). The first-ever authorized biography of Neil Armstrong, masterfully written by James Hansen, a professor of history at Auburn University. Harris, Philip Robert.
Space Enterprise: Living and Working Offworld in the 21st Century, (2009). An excellently referenced compendium of the behavioral and social science issues related to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. Hartmann, William K.
A Traveler’s Guide To Mars (2003). “A masterpiece of scientific writing for the general reader” that provides an integrated understanding of what makes Mars “tick.” Hendrickx, Bart, and Bert Vis.
Energiya-Buran: The Soviet Space Shuttle (2007). The full story of the massive undertaking that led up to the launch of the Soviet space shuttle. Heppenheimer, T. A.
Colonies in Space (1977). The best book on space settlement written to date – full of colorful narrative and satisfying, but clearly explained, technical detail. Heppenheimer, T. A.
The Space Shuttle Decision (1999). A masterful piece of research and writing, this volume deals with the technical, economic, and political factors in the initial decision to build the Shuttle (time period 1965-1972). Hitt, David, Owen Garriott, and Joe Kerwin.
Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story (2008). Provides an excellent oral history of the Skylab program, including Alan Bean’s complete journal from the Skylab II mission. Hogan, Thor.
Mars Wars (2007). Chronicles the reasons for the failure of the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) in the early 1990s. Holt, Nathalia.
Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, From Missiles to the Moon to Mars (2016). This epic story of the women of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a fascinating history that’s as much a timeline of U.S. space science as it is an entertaining group biography. Howe, A. Scott, and Brent Sherwood, editors.
Out of This World: The New Field of Space Architecture (2009). Gorgeously illustrated textbook of architectural concepts as applied to space (from habs to cities). Impey, Chris.
The Living Cosmos (2007). A readable survey of astrobiology and how it may lead to deeper knowledge of our place in the universe. Impey, Chris, and Holly Henry.
Dreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration (2013). The exciting tale of 12 missions that have expanded our view of the Solar System and the universe over the last 40 years. Jakosky, Bruce.
Science, Society and the Search for Life in the Universe (2006). An astrobiologist attempts to understand humans and their place in the universe. A book for the space philosopher. Jenks, Andrew L.
The Cosmonaut Who Couldn’t Stop Smiling: The Life and Legend of Yuri Gagarin (2012). How do you separate the real from the propaganda? One of the most compelling works of space history to be published in the past decade. Johnson, Les.
Sky Alert: When Satellites Fail (2013). Compelling account of how tenuous and entwined our existence has become with orbiting satellites. Johnson, Les, Gregory L. Matloff, C Bangs.
Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth (2009). How humans might use the resources of the solar system for terrestrial benefit, allowing civilization to live in harmony with the environment. Jones, Chris.
Too Far From Home (2007). The true story of what it was like to be stranded aboard the International Space Station after the loss of the Shuttle Columbia. Jones, Tom, and Ellen Stofan.
Planetology: Unlocking the Secrets of the Solar System (2008). Published by National Geographic, the book is packed with compelling images and informative text. Jones, Tom.
Skywalking: An Astronaut’s Memoir (2006). Former NASA astronaut Tom Jones offers a not-so-rosy glimpse at U.S.-Russian space relations. Kasting, James.
How to Find a Habitable Planet (2010). Kasting, a distinguished professor of geosciences at Penn State University, has worked to detect habitable worlds outside our solar system, and in this clear and accessible book he introduces readers to the advanced methodologies being used in this extraordinary quest. Kaufman, Marc.
First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth (2011). A first contact primer that’s as accessible and intriguing as it is vivid and thoughtfully written. Kaufman, Marc.
Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission (2014). A coffee-table size, visually beautiful book that also tells the story of the people involved in operating the mission. Kelly, Thomas J.
Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module (2009). Fascinating coverage of the engineering, management, economics, and numerous problems overcome in the successful Apollo lunar lander. Kessler, Andrew.
Martian Summer: Robot Arms, Cowboy Spacemen, and My 90 Days with the Phoenix Mars Mission (2011). Journalistic account of amazing science in all its frustration and glory, heroically executed despite penny-pinching and bureaucratic fiddling. Kevles, Bettyann Holtzmann.
Almost Heaven: The Story of Women in Space (2003). The fascinating story of the women astronauts and cosmonauts who flew, or almost flew, into space. Kitmacher, Gary.
Reference Guide to the International Space Station (2006). Provides a high level overview of the incredibly complex International Space Station program without drowning the reader in an ocean of facts. Koppel, Lily.
The Astronaut Wives Club (2013). How the wives of the early astronauts dealt with the intense pressure of their new-found celebrity. Kurzweil, Ray.
The Singularity is Near (2006). How might the hypothetical “Technological Singularity”—when computers become smarter than humans and take over their own evolution—affect space development? Lardier, Christian, and Stefan Barensky
The Soyuz Launch Vehicle–Two Lives of an Engineering Triumph (2013). A copiously illustrated tome about the development and use of the venerable Russian rocket. Lawrie, Alan.
Saturn (2005). The definitive reference work on what is arguably the crowning achievement of American aerospace technology, the Saturn V Moon rocket. Lawrie, Alan.
Saturn 1/1B (2008). A comprehensive history of the rocket that started the Apollo program on its way to the Moon. Lemonick, Michael D.
Mirror Earth: The Search for Our Planet’s Twin (2012). A science journalist’s account of the painstaking science of planet-hunting and the researchers who’ve taken up the quest. Levinson, Paul, and Michael Waltemathe.
Touching the Face of the Cosmos: On the Intersection of Space Travel and Religion (2016). An anthology of non-fiction and science fiction exploring various perspectives on space and spirituality. Lewis, John S.
Asteroid Mining 101: Wealth for the New Space Economy (2014). Presents a long-term plan for mining the asteroids and using their resources to expand our civilization throughout the Solar System. Lewis, John S.
Mining the Sky (1997). One of the most important books space advocates can own. Provides a justification and roadmap for incorporating the material and energy resources of the solar system into the world’s economy. Liebergot, Sy.
Apollo EECOM: Journey of a Lifetime (2008 reprint from 2003). A unique first person account of the behind-the-scenes drama that unfolded on Apollo and Skylab missions. Leopold, George.
Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom (2016). About the last of the Mercury Seven astronauts to have a book-length biography. Linehan, Dan.
Burt Rutan’s Race to Space: The Magician of Mojave and His Flying Innovations (2011). Portrays the essence of this remarkable engineer and his unique designs, from his first wooden aircraft models to his innovative suborbital space ships. Linehan, Dan.
SpaceShipOne: An Illustrated History (2008). A coffee-table book offering narrative details and pictures of this history-making vehicle. Lord, M. G.
Astro Turf (2005). A personal account of how JPL’s hierarchical, male-oriented management structure gradually shifted to a more inclusive model. Lovett, Laura, Joan Horvath, and Jeff Cuzzi.
Saturn: A New View (2006). An incredible volume of history, facts, and 150 awe-inspiring photographs of the planet and its moons, taken from the Cassini and Huygens spacecraft. Maccone, Claudio.
Deep Space Flight and Communications: Exploiting the Sun as a Gravitational Lens. (2009). A technically-oriented blueprint for escaping the solar system and moving out into the cosmos beyond. Mackowski, Michael J.
Adventures in Space Advocacy (2015). A personal story of 35 years of space advocacy by a principle activist in the St. Louis and Phoenix NSS chapters. Manber, Jeffrey.
Selling Peace: Inside the Soviet Conspiracy That Transformed the U.S. Space Program (2010). First hand account by the person who brokered deals between the Russian company Energia and the US. Mankins, John C.
The Case for Space Solar Power (2014). This book provides a new watershed for space solar power. Manning, Rob, and William L. Simon.
Mars Rover Curiosity: An Inside Account from Curiosity’s Chief Engineer (2014). How the Mars rover went from an idea to actually landing on Mars and making extraordinary discoveries. Massimino, Mike.
Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe (2016). An easy-to-read and honest and down-to-Earth personal look into the lifelong journey into space of astronaut and two-time Hubble repairman Mike Massimino. McCray, W. Patrick.
The Visioneers (2012). “How a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Frontier.” McDonald, Allen J., with James R. Hansen.
Truth, Lies, and O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster (2009). Tells the story, reading like a thriller, of what caused the loss of seven dedicated souls aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. Millard, Doug (editor).
Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age (2015). A companion book to a special exhibition at the Science Museum in London which tells the story of human space travel from the Soviet point of view. Miller, Roland.
Abandoned in Place: Preserving America’s Space History (2016). Coffee table book with stark photos of the abandoned remnants of America’s glory days in space. Mindell, David A.
Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight (2011). Describes the complexities of the man/machine interface of the Apollo spacecraft and Lunar Module. Mitchell, Edgar.
Earthrise: My Adventures As an Apollo 14 Astronaut (2014). Biographical story geared toward younger readers ages 12 and up. Moore, Patrick.
50 Years in Space, illustrated by David A. Hardy (2006). Noted author-astronomer and BBC commentator attempts to rekindle the wonder of the Space Age. Moseley, Willie G.
Smoke Jumper, Moon Pilot: The Remarkable Life of Apollo 14 Astronaut Stuart Roosa (2011). Worthy biography of the Apollo 14 Command Module pilot. Mullane, Mike.
Riding Rockets (2006). Former NASA astronaut Mike Mullane pulls back the cover on the astronaut corps, revealing the humor and humanity missing from the agency’s official biographies. Murdin, Paul.
Secrets of the Universe (2009). A storyteller’s history of astronomy, constructed like a collection of short stories that invites readers to delve into it at any point, that makes the most complex topics accessible and absorbing. Neff, Todd.
From Jars to Stars: How Ball Came to Build a Comet-Hunting Machine (2010). The intriguing story of how a company making Mason jars became Ball Aerospace and Technologies. Nelson, Craig.
Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon (2009). The ability to transport the reader emotionally back to an epic moment is this book’s redeeming asset. Nelson, Don A.
The NASA Letters (2018). One man’s fight for a commercially run, automated Space Shuttle. Neufeld, Michael.
Von Braun (2007). Probably the definitive biography of this “dreamer of space, engineer of war.” Nugent, Carrie.
Asteroid Hunters (2017). Saving Earth from asteroid strikes begins with finding them. This is the story of how that happens. O’Brien, Frank.
The Apollo Guidance Computer: Architecture and Operation. (2010). A comprehensive masterpiece chronicling the computer that made the Apollo lunar landings possible. O’Neill, Gerard K.
The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space, 3rd Edition (2000). In one of THE great books about space development, O’Neill offered answers to most of humanity’s energy problems and at the same time planned for a grand expansion of the human race into the solar system. O’Neill, Gerard K.
2081: A Hopeful View of the Human Future (1981). This second book by O’Neill describes his thoughts on anticipated advancements in computers, automation, space colonies, energy, and communications. Olsen, Gregory H., with Thomas V. Lento.
By Any Means Necessary! An Entrepreneur’s Journey Into Space (2010). A story of inspiration and practical advice for leading the kind of successful life to reach your dreams — like going into space as a paying passenger. Ordway, Frederick I. III, and Robert Godwin.
2001: The Heritage and Legacy of The Space Odyssey (2010). Ordway was the science consultant for the movie 2001 and the book provides great insight into its creation. Panek, Richard.
The 4% Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality (2011). The story of the scientists who are hunting for 96% of the universe. Patterson, William A.
Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue With His Century: Volume 1 (1907-1948): Learning Curve (2010). Volume 1 of a two-volume biography of the dean of American science fiction writers. Patterson, William A.
Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue With His Century: Volume 2 (1948-1988): The Man Who Learned Better (2014). The second and final volume of a comprehensive biography of the intellectual father of the space movement. Pelton, Joseph, and Peter Marshall.
License to Orbit (2009). Knowledgeable authors cover the wide spectrum of space tourism operations. Petranek, Stephen L.
How We’ll Live on Mars (2015). This book predicts that humans will land on Mars via privately-owned spacecraft in 2027. Pogue, William R.
But for the Grace of God: An Autobiography of an Aviator and Astronaut (2011). The life of a Skylab astronaut. Powell-Willhite, Irene E. (editor).
The Voice of Dr. Wernher Von Braun (2007). A collection of speeches by Wernher von Braun. Prelinger, Megan.
Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race 1957-1962 (2010). A collection of advertising copy that rescues rocket and space ad artwork from virtual obscurity. Pyle, Rod.
Amazing Stories of the Space Age (2017). “True Tales of Nazis in Orbit, Soldiers on the Moon, Orphaned Martian Robots, and Other Fascinating Accounts from the Annals of Spaceflight.” Pyle, Rod.
Blueprint for a Battlestar: Serious Scientific Explanations Behind Sci Fi’s Greatest Inventions (2016). Enjoyable explainations of the science behind clever devices employed in science fiction, and how close we are to obtaining them. Pyle, Rod.
Mars: Making Contact (2016). A book about Mars missions, the successes and failures and the many challenges and solutions involved. Pyle, Rod.
Missions to the Moon (2009). With relatively few pages, this book is oversized and crammed with information — even with all the other histories out there, a valuable and fun book. Roach, Mary.
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void (2010). An intriguing chronicle of the nitty-gritty, rarely discussed aspects of space travel. Ross, Jerry L., with John Norberg.
Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA’s Record-Setting Frequent Flyer (2013). “The story of one man’s lifelong quest to explore the unknown, overcome setbacks and obstacles, and keep the beacon of space shining in the hearts of all people, young and old.” Schmitt, Harrison H.
Return to the Moon: Exploration, Enterprise, and Energy in the Human Settlement of Space (2005). The last man to set foot on the Moon takes a hard look at the economic and technological gains in getting back to where we once belonged. Seddon, Margaret Rhea.
Go for Orbit: One of America’s First Women Astronauts Finds Her Space (2016). Rhea Seddon, MD, shares the challenges she faced as one the first women to fly in space. Seedhouse, Erik.
Lunar Outpost: The Challenges of Establishing a Human Settlement on the Moon (2009). A narrative of the key mission architecture elements comprising NASA’s plan for returning astronauts to the Moon. Seedhouse, Erik.
The New Space Race: China vs. the United States (2010). The “race” with China for the dominance of space is more subtle than the old US-Soviet race. Seedhouse, Erik.
SpaceX: Making Commercial Spaceflight a Reality (2013). The first book-length account of commercial spaceflight’s most successful venture. Seedhouse, Erik.
Tourists in Space (2008). A nuts-and-bolts look at suborbital and orbital space tourism, particularly for those people considering signing up for a ride into space. Shepherd, Gordon, and Agnes Kruchio.
Canada’s Fifty Years in Space (2008). As enjoyable to read as it is a thoroughly comprehensive history of Canada’s space efforts. Schrunk, David, et.al.
The Moon: Resources, Future Development, and Settlement, 2nd Edition (2007). On the technological development of lunar resources leading to a global lunar infrastructure and civilization. Scott, David Meerman, and Richard Jurek.
Marketing the Moon (2014). Well-written and well-researched work that provides a unique perspective on the Apollo program: how it was marketed to the public. Shetterly, Margot Lee.
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (2016). The book that was made into a major motion picture on the subject. Sietzen, Frank Jr., and Keith Cowing.
New Moon Rising (2004). Provides the inside story of the formation of a major space policy in 2004: The Vision for Space Exploration. Sivolella, Davide.
To Orbit and Back Again: How the Space Shuttle Flew in Space (2013). A reference about the space shuttle so comprehensive that an astronaut said he could have used it as a textbook for flying the shuttle. Sivolella, Davide.
The Space Shuttle Program: Technologies and Accomplishments (2017). Excellent review of the shuttle in terms of employing its special characteristics in operational use. Smith, Andrew.
Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth (2005). Where do you go after you’ve been to the Moon? If you ever wanted to have a personal discussion with the moonwalkers, this is the book for you. Smith, Michael G.
Rockets and Revolution: A Cultural History of Early Spaceflight (2013). A study of the cultural and philosophical aspects of the development of rockets. Soluri, Michael.
Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration (2014). A coffee table book of stunning photographs and 18 first-hand essays provides a detailed look at the last Hubble repair mission.
Spacecraft Films Apollo DVD Sets (2003-2006). These DVD sets provide the chance to see the Apollo missions as the astronauts did. Spudis, Paul D.
The Value of the Moon (2016). Describes a step-by-step infrastructure buildup to mine water from the Moon’s poles and use it for fuel to open up the Solar System. Squyres, Steven W.
Roving Mars (2005). The passionate story of the human perserverance involved in creating the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. Stine, G. Harry.
Halfway to Anywhere: Achieving America’s Destiny in Space (1996). Stine’s most important book, on the subject of how to greatly reduce the cost of getting to orbit, includes the fascinating inside story of the Delta Clipper program. Stratmann, Henry G., MD.
Using Medicine in Science Fiction: The SF Writer’s Guide to Human Biology (2015). A valuable reference and an entertaining education on the effects of spaceflight on humans. Suitor, William B.
Rocketbelt Pilot’s Manual: A Guide by the Bell Test Pilot (2009). The author shares his amazing experiences of personal flight in a matter-of-fact style with just a touch of awe for his incredible flights. Teitel, Amy Shira.
Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight before NASA (2016). The story of hobby rocket designers of the late 1920s through the first U.S. satellite launch, replete with drama, accidents, and colorful individuals. Tyson, Neil deGrasse.
The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet (2009). Offers hilarious documentation of the uproar over Pluto’s loss of planetary status, as well as a serious look at how the decision was made. Vance, Ashlee.
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (2015). The author uses his personal access to Musk, along with interviews of more than 300 of his co-workers, friends, family, and detractors, to provide an in-depth examination of his companies and accomplishments. Vedda, James A.
Becoming Spacefarers: Rescuing America’s Space Program (2012). A space policy expert recommends an approach that is not destination-oriented but instead builds infrastructure. von Braun, Wernher, et. al.
Across the Space Frontier (1952). First in a set of three books that are expanded treatments of a series of articles in Collier’s magazine that inspired a generation of Americans. von Braun, Wernher, et. al.
Conquest of the Moon (1953). The greatest space visionaries of the 1950s lay out a highly ambitious plan for exploring the Moon. von Braun, Wernher, and Willey Ley.
The Exploration of Mars (1956). The father of the U.S. space program and the founding president of the National Space Institute (now National Space Society) describes his plans for exploring Mars. von Ehrenfried, Manfred.
Exploring the Martian Moons (2017). Detailed information about NASA’s space infrastructure and how it could be used for a mission to the Martian moons. Vulpetti, Giovanni, et. al.,
Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel (2008). The definitive book on solar sails for both the technical and the non-technical reader. Ward, Peter.
Life as We Do Not Know It: The NASA Search for (and Synthesis of) Alien Life (2005). Sets a research agenda aimed at unraveling the profound questions: What is life, and where does it exist? Watkins, Billy.
Apollo Moon Missions: The Unsung Heroes (2005). Profiles fourteen among the many workers who made the small steps that led to the giant leap. Webb, Stephen.
Where Is Everybody? Fifty Solutions to the Fermi Paradox (2002). Are there any spacefaring civilizations out there? Either answer leads to a paradox. This stimulating feast for the mind is a scholarly yet highly readable work “for any reader interested in science and the sheer pleasure of speculative thinking.” White, Roland.
Into the Black: The Extraordinary Untold Story of the First Flight of Shuttle Columbia and the Men Who Flew Her (2016). Noticeable new information and an interesting perspective keeps the reader engaged and feeling that your time was well spent. Wieland, Paul O.
Crossing the Threshold: Advancing into Space to Benefit the Earth (2010). A book that ties space endeavors to current problems, like improving or sustaining the environment. Wingo, Dennis.
Moonrush (2004). Makes a strong case that there are important reasons for humans to return to the Moon, as well as why past efforts have failed. Woodmansee, Laura.
Sex in Space (2006). An interesting study in possibilities that have not as yet been documented, and a good starting point for future space tourists and planners. Worden, Al, and Francis French.
Falling to Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut’s Journey to the Moon (2011). An astronaut memoir that does not disappoint, and that owns up to the postal cover scandal that cost him his job at NASA. Wright, Bill, and Doug Turnbull.
We Are the Martians (2016). Focuses on the settlement of Mars, extensively illustrated with beautiful original art by Bill Wright. Young, John W., with James R. Hansen.
Forever Young: A Life of Adventure in Air and Space (2012). What makes this book different than other astronauts’ memoirs is the comprehensive technical detail he uses to describe each of his missions and his entire career at NASA. Zubrin, Robert.
The Case for Mars (1996/1997). “Bob Zubrin really, nearly alone, changed our thinking on this issue.”—Carl Sagan Zubrin, Robert; Harrison Schmitt; Edgar Mitchell; et. al.
Colonizing Mars: The Mission to the Red Planet (2012). Anthology of thought-provoking essays on the reasons for sending humans to the Red Planet and what challenges will impact the effort. Zubrin, Robert.
How to Live on Mars (2008). Everything you need to know to achieve Great Wealth and Fame on Mars.