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.)
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"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
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"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