Engineering & Transportation
Buy New
$25.13
Qty:1
  • List Price: $34.95
  • Save: $9.82 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Temporarily out of stock.
Order now and we'll deliver when available.
Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item.
Details
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Ambassadors from Earth: P... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Ambassadors from Earth: Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft (Outward Odyssey: A People's History of Spaceflight) Hardcover – November 1, 2009


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$25.13
$21.72 $3.18
$25.13 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Frequently Bought Together

Ambassadors from Earth: Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft (Outward Odyssey: A People's History of Spaceflight) + Footprints in the Dust: The Epic Voyages of Apollo, 1969-1975 (Outward Odyssey: A People's History of S)
Price for both: $49.13

One of these items ships sooner than the other.

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

China
Engineering & Transportation Books
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Nebraska Pr (November 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803222203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803222205
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gallentine, a film and video engineer and a lifelong space buff, tells tales about the exciting early days of unmanned space exploration in this sprawling account. From Sputnik through James Van Allen and his assistant George Ludwig's discovery, with a tape recorder, of massive amounts of radioactivity above the atmosphere, to the two Voyager missions with their gold-plated Rosetta stones, many lifelong space buffs will know Gallentine's story by heart. What makes his account special is the amount of access he had to Van Allen and Ludwig, who shared previously unknown details of their early collaboration. Gallentine is also very well informed about the movers and shakers in the Soviet space program and its epic achievements. Some readers may be put off by Gallentine's informal tone (his use of egad makes it sound as if he just stepped out of The Music Man) as well as by his re-creation of conversations and even thoughts. It would have helped, too, if Gallentine had tied past lessons to future space exploration. Nevertheless, many space buffs, especially young ones, should find this a satisfying narrative. 50 photos and illus. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Gallentine's book weaves highly accessible and rich tales of the lives of some of the passionate pioneers behind these space machines. Flooded with details that reveal the contingent and fragile nature of these adventures, Ambassadors from Earth reminds us that behind the scenes in these exciting enterprises are genuine human beings who struggle to make something work. Read this and be inspired." --Rob Manning, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Program chief engineer

"An exciting, engrossing tale of the early days of space flight capturing the human drama with its inside look at the competitors in the space race reaching for the Moon, Venus, Mars and beyond. It s like listening to the stories of the sailors on Captain Cook s voyages as they discovered new worlds." --Louis Friedman, executive director, the Planetary Society

"The story of unmanned planetary exploration deserves retelling to each new generation and it has found an expert chronicler in Jay Gallentine. His lively, readable, and expertly researched book documents this saga from its roots in WWII to the latest findings presenting both the human and the technological dimensions of our ventures into space." --Jon Lomberg, Design Director, Voyager Interstellar Record

More About the Author

Historian Jay Gallentine has a reputation for stripping away technobabble to focus on the intimate human stories behind space missions. His politely uncouth, casual writing style makes the topic accessible and enjoyable, while retaining accuracy worthy of a reference tome. Jay's lively and animated public talks have been well-received in classrooms, at science museums and Scout gatherings, and at space-themed conferences.

His first book, "Ambassadors from Earth", detailing the turbulent early days of solar system exploration, was published in 2009 after five years of research. From the American Astronautical Society it received the 2009 Eugene M. Emme Award for Astronautical Literature. This award recognizes "the truly outstanding book published each year - serving public understanding about the positive impact of astronautics upon society."

Learn more at www.facebook.com/ambassadorsfromearth

In 2015, Jay will release "Infinity Beckoned: Adventuring through the Inner Solar System". Like its predecessor, this book also utilizes original research and numerous interviews with those who did the work. "Infinity" will explore such topics as how the Soviet Union put the first wheels on alien soil, why people still can't agree on whether or not life was found on Mars in 1976, and just how far backwards the Russians bent in order to fly balloons on Venus.

Customer Reviews

The book would be worth reading for that alone.
Phyl L. Good
On the one hand, it is about as good a one-volume history of the early days of the Space Age as I've read recently.
Terry Sunday
Very enjoyable, and written so that it is easy to follow and understand the material within the book.
Craig B. Clark

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By nprev on September 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Ambassadors From Earth" provides a panaoramic overview of the early days of spaceflight that is free of official spin and loaded with insider details. The author took the rare opportunity to conduct in-depth interviews of the surviving pioneers of this heady era, and produced a highly readable and entertaining historical record of the very human mistakes, egoes, politics, and flashes of sheer genius that put us on the road to the stars.

Featuring previously unprinted photographs from the author's own collection, the book also provides one of the best accounts yet written in the West of the Soviet efforts behind Sputnik and other early probes, warts and all. This would never--COULD never--have been revealed during the Cold War.

If anything, the book is too short for the sheer number of topics it covers. Many of the discrete projects of the era, such as the struggle of the US Ranger program, are worthy of books unto themselves. The work is of considerable value in its own right as a study of the development of systems engineering processes and quality control that have become the standard guiding practices of the aerospace industry, and indeed of project management in general.

"Ambassadors" is a must-read for historians, project managers, and anyone else interested in truly understanding the toil behind the nearly miraculous achievement of of unmanned spaceflight, which now influences literally every aspect of our lives.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Phyl L. Good on December 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you have even a moderate interest in the history of the space program, suit up, belt yourself in securely, and prepare for a fantastic ride. From the earliest days, both in the Soviet Union and the United States, Gallentine traces the history of space exploration in wonderful detail, scientist by scientist, development by development, scientific decision by political decision. And of course, failure after failure after smashing success.

You might think a book like this would be rather a dull history, but you couldn't be farther from the truth. Yes, Gallentine researched all those things to within an inch of their lives, so all the important details are here. But with his casual, conversational style and keen storytelling ability, he brings the events to life in a tale that is absolutely riveting.

Beginning with James Van Allen's discovery of the radiation belts around the earth, then backtracking to the first development of rockets by Germany, the Soviet Union, and the United States during World War Two, the tale soon splits into two main branches, following teams of scientists in the USSR and the US as they race to find ways of getting first a satellite into space, and then finally a living being. Much of the American history is well-known if you look in the right places, but Gallentine presents information from the Soviet side that nobody on this side of the Iron Curtain ever knew before. The book would be worth reading for that alone.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Craig B. Clark on November 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very enjoyable, and written so that it is easy to follow and understand the material within the book. I found it easy reading and covered parts of space history that I am aware of but also added information about those topics which added to my previous knowledge. It was fast reading.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Clow on August 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Much as I admire Roger Launius's work, I have to take small issue with his criticism of this. To my mind, the informality Jay Gallentine brought to "Ambassadors from Earth" only helped convey his enthusiasm for these strange buglike gadgets and helped to humanize the entire unmanned space effort. A subject like this could easily have been delivered as a dry, bloodless recitation of the engineering. Gallentine put a heartbeat into it all, showing us the people, the passion and the sheer crazy impossibility of it being confronted and overcome. I expected to learn a lot from this, and I id. I didn't expect to laugh out loud, and I did. For both, my hat's off to the writer.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Launius VINE VOICE on May 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Contrary to the reverence accorded the astronauts as space explorers, the wide majority of exploration of the solar system has been done by small, ingenious, little-known robots sent as human emissaries to every planet circling our sun. Indeed, not since the last Apollo mission in 1972 has a human engaged in any exploration whatsoever in space; it has been completely carried out by robotic probes. "Ambassadors from Earth" is a serviceable general, one-volume history of these efforts to understand the universe. It is probably as good as anything yet published on this subject, but there are not many strong overviews available.

"Ambassadors from Earth" has several strengths. The most significant is that this work offers an accessible account the American and Soviet planetary missions of the space race era, as well as the more widespread efforts of more recent times, benefiting from the opening of documentary materials from the Soviet Union. Additionally, author Jay Galentine collected interviews with many people associated with these missions and quotes liberally from them. I certainly encourage him to make sure that these are deposited in an archive for others to also use.

There are also shortcomings in this book. The author writes in a jarringly informal manner, for example referring to rockets as "doohickeys" and "shiny new playthings" seems out of place. This idiomatic prose seems especially inappropriate when narrating the history of one of the most modern and difficult feats ever undertaken by human ingenuity. More disturbing, the opportunity for sustained analysis offered itself in this work and Galentine failed to seize it. Carpe diem; well perhaps next time. This is a narrative , and judged on that basis it is quite successful. It will be of interest to space enthusiasts but of modest use to those seeking anything more deeply analytical that a "once over lightly" knowledge of this important subject in world history.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews