The US Space Program: A Brief History

Duration: 1st January – 31st March
Number of books: 20
Hosted by:Crazy Challenge Connection

We’ve been teasing you a bit about focusing on the Space Program for the next few months. Why? Because we’re coming up on some huge historic milestones – Man’s first orbit of the moon in December 1968, and man’s first landing on the moon in July 1969. So for the next few months, we hope you’ll want to join us in learning all about space! To get us started, here’s a very brief history of NASA.

1. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the US Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aerospace research. After the Soviet launch of the world’s first artificial satellite (Sputnik 1) on October 4, 1957, the United States became alarmed about national security and decided action was needed. Until that time, the US had a fledgling space program under the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). On July 29, 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, establishing NASA. When it began operations on October 1, 1958, NASA absorbed the 43-year-old NACA intact.
πŸš€ Read a book about the Cold War between the US and the USSR (may be historical fiction) OR read a book that takes place during the 1950’s OR read a book which includes a character who works for an agency known by its acronym (i.e. NASA, FBI, CIA).

2. NACA came into NASA with 8,000 employees, an annual budget of a hundred million dollars, three major research laboratories, and two small test facilities. Elements of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) and the United States Naval Research Laboratory were also incorporated into NASA. A significant contributor to NASA’s entry into the Space Race with the Soviet Union was the technology from the German rocket program led by Wernher von Braun, who was now working for ABMA, which in turn incorporated the technology of American scientist Robert Goddard’s earlier works. In December 1958, NASA gained control of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a contractor facility operated by the California Institute of Technology. 
πŸš€ Read a book that has a main character who is a scientist or an engineer OR read a book that is marked β€œespionage” or β€œspy” OR read a book in which the author’s first and last initials may be found in TECHNOLOGY.

3. The NASA agency’s leader is nominated by the President of the United States subject to approval of the US Senate. The leader/administrator reports directly to the President and serves as senior space science advisor. The first administrator was Dr. T. Keith Glennan appointed by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. During his term he brought together the disparate projects in American space development research. 
πŸš€ Read a book that takes place in Washington, D.C. OR read a book that involves politics OR read a book that is the first in a new-to-you series or an author’s debut book.

4. The second administrator, James E. Webb (1961–1968), appointed by President John F. Kennedy, was tasked with the Apollo program to achieve Kennedy’s Moon landing goal by the end of the 1960s. Webb directed major management restructuring and facility expansion, establishing the Houston Manned Spacecraft (Johnson) Center and the Florida Launch Operations (Kennedy) Center. Capitalizing on Kennedy’s legacy, President Lyndon Johnson kept continuity with the Apollo program by keeping Webb on when he succeeded Kennedy in November 1963. But Webb resigned in October 1968 before Apollo achieved its goal.
πŸš€ Read a book with a β€œ2” in its original publication year (tell us when) OR read a book by an author who first name is James or John (reasonable variations okay) OR read a book in which a character does not achieve his or her goal.

5. To date NASA has conducted many manned and unmanned spaceflight programs. Unmanned programs launched the first American artificial satellites into Earth orbit for scientific and communications purposes. Scientific probes have been sent to explore the planets of the solar system, starting with Venus and Mars, and including “grand tours” of the outer planets. NASA manned programs sent the first Americans into low Earth orbit (LEO) and won the Space Race with the Soviet Union by landing twelve men on the Moon from 1969 to 1972 in the Apollo program. 
πŸš€ Read a book marked β€œTravel” on its main GoodReads page OR read a book that takes place in outer space OR read a book whose cover shows some type of communication (i.e. phone, computer, pencil and paper; post the cover).

6. Mercury, America’s first human space flight program, introduced the nation to its first astronauts. From 1958-1963, there were six total flights with six astronauts flown. Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr. was the first man launched into sub-orbital space on May 5, 1961; the flight lasted 15 minutes, 28 seconds.
πŸš€ Read the 6th book in a series (tell us the series) OR read a book whose title begins with a letter in MERCURY (disregard a/an/the) OR read a book about an astronaut (real or fictional; tell us who).

7. On Feb. 20, 1962, an Atlas rocket (Mercury Atlas 6) successfully carried John Glenn (who later became a Senator representing Ohio) and the hopes of an entire nation into orbit aboard Friendship 7. The 4 hours, 55 minutes, 23 seconds journey was a three-orbit flight that placed the first American into orbit.
πŸš€ Read a book about friendship OR read a book whose location begins with a letter in ORBIT (tell us where) OR read a book featuring a politician (tell us who).

8. Project Gemini, given its name from the Latin word for “twins,” as the new capsule would accommodate two pilots, is often referred to as the “bridge to the moon.” It spanned between Project Mercury and the Apollo lunar landing flights. NASA’s two-man spaceflights demonstrated that astronauts could change their capsule’s orbit, remain in space for at least two weeks and work outside their spacecraft. They also pioneered rendezvous and docking with other spacecraft. All were essential skills to land on the moon and return safely to Earth.
πŸš€ Read a book featuring twins OR read a book showing a bridge on its cover (post the cover) OR read a book written by two (and only two) authors (both author names don’t have to be listed on the cover, as long as the author link indicates that two people are writing under one pen name).

9. The Apollo program did not start auspiciously when tragedy struck on the launch pad at Cape Kennedy during a preflight test for Apollo 204 (later named Apollo 1) on January 27, 1967. The mission was to be the first crewed flight of Apollo, and was scheduled to launch Feb. 21, 1967. Astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee lost their lives when a fire swept through the command module.
πŸš€ Read a book that involves a major fire (i.e. more than a campfire; tell us briefly about the fire) OR read a book with an orange cover (post the cover) OR read a book that takes place in winter (December, January, February; tell us when).

10. The U.S public’s perception of the Soviet lead in the space race motivated President John F. Kennedy to ask the Congress on May 25, 1961, to commit the federal government to a program to land a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s, which effectively launched the Apollo program. Apollo was one of the most expensive American scientific programs ever. It cost more than $20 billion in 1960s dollars (estimated $213 billion in present-day US dollars). It used the Saturn rockets as launch vehicles, which were far bigger than the rockets built for previous projects. The spacecraft was also bigger; it had two main parts, the combined command and service module (CSM) and the lunar landing module (LM). The LM was to be left on the Moon and only the command module (CM) containing the three astronauts would eventually return to Earth. 
πŸš€ Read a book that takes place in the 1960s OR read a book by an author whose first and last initials are either β€œLM” or β€œCM” (those initial combos only!) OR read a book that was expensive to obtain (tell us why).

11. The second manned mission, Apollo 8, brought astronauts for the first time in a flight around the Moon in December 1968. Apollo 8 was launched on December 21, 1968, and became the first manned spacecraft to leave low Earth orbit, reach the Earth’s Moon, orbit it and return safely to Earth. The three-astronaut crew β€” Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders β€” became the first humans to see Earth as a whole planet and directly see the far side of the Moon with their own eyes. The 1968 mission, the third flight of the Saturn V rocket was the first spaceflight launch from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, located adjacent to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
πŸš€ Read a book in which some kind of historic first takes place (tell us what) OR read a book about the Apollo 8 Mission (I highly recommend Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon) OR read a book that takes place in Florida.

12. On the next two missions, Apollo 9 and Apollo 10, docking maneuvers that were needed for the Moon landing were practiced. The first live color TV transmissions to Earth began three hours after launch when Apollo 10 was 3,570 miles from Earth and concluded when the spacecraft was 9,428 miles away. The transmission showed the docking process and the interior of the command and space module.
πŸš€ If you have a large TBR, read any book between 3,570 and 9,428 (tell us the book’s position) OR read a book that somehow involves television (tell us how) OR read a book in which a character practices something (i.e. sports, piano; tell us what). – Journeys to the Other Side of the World by David Attenborough

13. At 9:32 a.m. (EST) on July 16, 1969, the engines of another Saturn V rocket fired Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins past the launch tower at Kennedy Space Center. The three-stage 363-foot rocket used 7.5 million pounds of thrust to propel them into space and into history. Three days later the crew is in lunar orbit. 
πŸš€ Read a book with an intact “32,” “16,” or “11” found intact in a book’s total page count OR read a book in which the author’s first and last initials may be found in “ARMSTRONG,” “ALDRIN,” or “COLLINS” (tell us which) OR read a book you find particularly powerful or moving (tell us why). – Greylands by Isobelle Carmody

14. On July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin entered the Lunar Module, made a final check, and the Eagle undocked and separated from Columbia for its descent to the moon’s surface. It was almost four hours later that Armstrong emerged from the Eagle and deployed the TV camera for the transmission of the event to Earth. At about 109 hours, 42 minutes after launch, Armstrong stepped onto the moon. About 20 minutes later, Aldrin followed him. The camera was then positioned on a tripod about 30 feet from the LM. Half an hour later, President Nixon spoke by telephone link with the astronauts. An estimated 530 million people watched Armstrong’s televised image and heard his voice describe the event as he took “…one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
πŸš€ Read a book that starts each chapter or section with a quote OR read a book published in July (any year; tell us the year) OR read a book viewed (read) by many people (100,000+ ratings; tell us how many). 

15. Commemorative medallions bearing the names of the three Apollo 1 astronauts who lost their lives in a launch pad fire, and two cosmonauts who also died in accidents, were left on the moon’s surface. A one-and-a-half inch silicon disk, containing micro miniaturized goodwill messages from 73 countries, and the names of congressional and NASA leaders, also stayed behind.
πŸš€ Read a book in which a character dies in an accident (tell us who and what type of accident) OR read a book that takes place in more that one country (could be multiple story lines, a move, or a vacation, etc.) OR read a book in which a character is honored somehow (i.e. trophy, award; tell us the character and how they are honored.)

16. Armstrong and Aldrin spent 21 hours, 36 minutes on the moon conducting scientific experiments, collecting specimens and describing the moon’s surface. After a flight of 195 hours, 18 minutes, 35 seconds – about 36 minutes longer than planned – Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, 13 13 miles from the recovery ship USS Hornet.
πŸš€ Read a book with a one word title that begins with “A” OR read a book that shows a large body of water on the cover (post the cover) OR read a book that takes place in any country that borders the Pacific Ocean (tell us where). – Wild Fire by Christine Feehan (Panama)

17. Skylab was a US space station launched and operated by NASA, and occupied for about 24 weeks between May 1973 and February 1974. It included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems necessary for crew survival and scientific experiments. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket (famous for launching Apollo 11). Three missions delivered three-astronaut crews in the Apollo Command/Service Module (Apollo CSM). Solar science was significantly advanced with photos of Earth and unprecedented observation of the Sun.
In 1979 it fell back to Earth amid huge worldwide media attention as the station disintegrated upon re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere and left debris over Western Australia.
πŸš€ Read a book that takes place during the 1970’s OR read a book with a sun or sunny, daytime scene on the cover (post the cover) OR read a book that takes place in Australia.

18. The Space Shuttle was a partially reusable low Earth orbital spacecraft system operated by NASA as part of the Space Shuttle program. The first of four orbital test flights occurred in 1981, leading to operational flights beginning in 1982. Five complete Shuttle systems were built and used on a total of 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. Operational missions launched numerous satellites, interplanetary probes, and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST); conducted science experiments in orbit; and participated in construction and servicing of the International Space Station. 
πŸš€ Read a book that takes place during the 1980’s and/or 1990’s (tell us when) OR read a book in which something large is constructed (i.e. house, shopping mall, airplane) OR read a book where the first letter of each title word (include a/an/the) may be found in SPACE SHUTTLE (3 word minimum).

19. The first Space Shuttle orbiter, Enterprise, was built in 1976, used in Approach and Landing Tests and had no orbital capability. Four fully operational orbiters were initially built: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, and Atlantis. Of these, two were lost in mission accidents: Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003, with a total of fourteen astronauts killed. A fifth operational (and sixth in total) orbiter, Endeavour, was built in 1991 to replace Challenger. The Space Shuttle was retired from service upon the conclusion of Atlantis’s final flight on July 21, 2011. The U.S. has since relied primarily on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to transport supplies and astronauts to the International Space Station.
πŸš€ Read a book in which a main character is retired OR read a book that involves a man-made disaster OR read a book that is 5th or 6th in a series (tell us the series).

20. The International Space Station (ISS) is a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit. Its first component launched into orbit in 1998, with the first long-term residents arriving in November 2000. It has been inhabited continuously since that date. The station is expected to operate until at least 2028. The ISS is the largest human-made body in low Earth orbit and can often be seen with the naked eye from Earth. The station is suited for the testing of spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars. Five different space agencies (including NASA) cooperate in the ISS Program; the ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements.
πŸš€ Read a book with any type of flying machine on the cover (post the cover) OR read a book by an author who has published at least 5 books (make sure to post a link to the author’s name) OR read a book in which several agencies have to work together (i.e. a police task force).



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