One Small Step

Nobody thought that manned exploration would be easy, or that the rate of progress would be fast. We seem to have had our first race and are now, hopefully, catching our breath before the next big push. Now is an ideal time for a well-considered history of the subject and Dr David Whitehouse, the space scientist and former BBC science correspondent, has provided a superb one.


We are presented with two treats. First is the book. This is lavishly illustrated and full of special insights into the bravery, exhilaration and dangers encountered by the men and women who made the first tentative steps into outer space, as well as the over-enthusiasm, secrecy and dirty tricks employed by one of the nations taking part. One the one hand we have the USA with its refreshing openness, with news media invited to every event, independent of its chances of success. And on the other, the USSR, a nation that was so paranoid about the possibility of their spacecraft and cosmonauts landing in non-Soviet territory that their craft could be blown up at any time, independent of whether they were manned or not. In the USSR failures were non-events and were not revealed to the public until many years later. Whitehouse cleverly splices his interesting, well-researched and informative account with both numerous quotations from the people involved and with well-chosen quotations.


The second treat is the included audio CD. Here we are presented with a well chosen seventy minutes worth of snippets from over forty rare archive broadcasts. The beeps of orbiting Sputnik 1, and the announcements of Radio Moscow compete with the enthusiastic messages from those onboard the likes of Gemini 7, Vostok 6, Apollo 11, Apollo 17, Voskhod 1 and the first Columbia space shuttle launch. The book and the CD are an absolute joy and I recommend them most strongly. David Hughes. Astronomy Now. 



This beautifully produced book reveals the history of the Space Age, from the wartime rockets of Werner von Braun to the private spaceflight of Bert Rutan.


Top-secret documents from the former Soviet Union and NASA archives give us a unique perspective on the race to space while an included audio CD has 40 rare recordings of historic space events, such as Radio Moscow announcing Vanentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space. BBC Sky at Night Magazine. 



Lunar expert David Whitehouse’s new book is one of the most passionate readable books on Earth’s nearest neighbour ever written and includes a bonus audio CD.


One Small Step shows space travel as it’s never been seen. This is the most up-to-date history of man in space, researched from astronaut interviews, diaries and speeches, and even top-secret documents from the former Soviet Union, with many revelations appearing for the first time. 


The CD includes amongst 40 rare recordings, Radio Moscow’s Sputnik announcement; Yuri gagarin speaking from orbit; Alan Shepard’s launch; Valentina Tereskhova, the first woman in space; Neil Armstrong stepping out onto the lunar surface; and Apollo 13’s famous “Houston. We’ve had a problem” distress call. ABC Australia.



If outer space captures your imagination, you might like One Small Step (Quercus, $34.95) by Dr David Whitehouse. This is a personal account of the space race by a renowned astronomer. Written in a relaxed, conversational style, the book is accompanied by a CD featuring 40 audio recordings live from space. If your Dad listened to Apollo 13 on the radio, this CD will bring back memories of the awe we all felt. A very special book. The Independent Weekly, Australia.




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