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About Jonathan H. Ward
Jonathan brings a unique perspective to his writing that marries a systems view of the topic, fascination with the technology, passion for space exploration, and deep respect for the people who make it all happen. He holds an MS in Systems Management from the University of Denver and a BS in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is professionally certified as an executive coach by the International Coach Federation and serves on the adjunct faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership. His professional experience includes extensive work with leadership teams and several years with Boeing on the Space Station Freedom program.
Jonathan and his wife Jane now reside in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is fiercely proud of his two grown children and their families, and he wishes they lived closer to him. He maintains web sites at www.apollo-saturn.com and www.apollolaunchcontrol.com to document his research on the Apollo era at Kennedy Space Center. He collects and restores artifacts from the Apollo era, including several control panels from the Firing Rooms. Jonathan also notes that he might possibly be the only current author about Apollo who has appeared on two GRAMMY-winning albums, which were recorded during his years as a Bass II section leader, soloist, and eventually president of The Washington Chorus.
Jonathan's current book is "Bringing Columbia Home: The Final Mission of a Lost Space Shuttle and Her Crew," co-authored with former Space Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach. The book will be published by Skyhorse Publishing in January 2018.
Jonathan's previous two books, "Rocket Ranch: The Nuts and Bolts of the Apollo Moon Program at Kennedy Space Center," and "Countdown to a Moon Launch: Preparing Apollo for Its Historic Journey" were published by Springer-Praxis in 2015. The books have been widely acclaimed in the space history community for their unique perspective--frequently in the everyday workers' own words--on the heroic behind-the-scenes efforts needed to send Apollo to the Moon.
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The dramatic inside story of the epic search and recovery operation after the Columbia space shuttle disaster.
On February 1, 2003, Columbia disintegrated on reentry before the nation’s eyes, and all seven astronauts aboard were lost. Author Mike Leinbach, Launch Director of the space shuttle program at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center was a key leader in the search and recovery effort as NASA, FEMA, the FBI, the US Forest Service, and dozens more federal, state, and local agencies combed an area of rural east Texas the size of Rhode Island for every piece of the shuttle and her crew they could find. Assisted by hundreds of volunteers, it would become the largest ground search operation in US history. This comprehensive account is told in four parts:
- Parallel Confusion
- Courage, Compassion, and Commitment
- Picking Up the Pieces
- A Bittersweet Victory
Featuring a foreword and epilogue by astronauts Robert Crippen and Eileen Collins, and dedicated to the astronauts and recovery search persons who lost their lives, this is an incredible, compelling narrative about the best of humanity in the darkest of times and about how a failure at the pinnacle of human achievement became a story of cooperation and hope.
Thousands of workers labored at Kennedy Space Center around the clock, seven days a week, for half a year to prepare a mission for the liftoff of Apollo 11. This is the story of what went on during those hectic six months.
Countdown to a Moon Launch provides an in-depth look at the carefully choreographed workflow for an Apollo mission at KSC. Using the Apollo 11 mission as an example, readers will learn what went on day by day to transform partially completed stages and crates of parts into a ready-to-fly Saturn V. Firsthand accounts of launch pad accidents, near misses, suspected sabotage, and last-minute changes to hardware are told by more than 70 NASA employees and its contractors. A companion to Rocket Ranch, it includes many diagrams and photographs, some never before published, to illustrate all aspects of the process. NASA’s groundbreaking use of computers for testing and advanced management techniques are also covered in detail.
This book will demystify the question of how NASA could build and launch Apollo missions using 1960s technology. You’ll discover that there was no magic involved – just an abundance of discipline, willpower, and creativity.
Jonathan Ward takes the reader deep into the facilities at Kennedy Space Center to describe NASA’s first computer systems used for spacecraft and rocket checkout and explain how tests and launches proceeded. Descriptions of early operations include a harrowing account of the heroic efforts of pad workers during the Apollo 1 fire. A companion to the author’s book Countdown to a Moon Launch: Preparing Apollo for Its Historic Journey, this explores every facet of the facilities that served as the base for the Apollo/Saturn missions. Hundreds of illustrations complement the firsthand accounts of more than 70 Apollo program managers and engineers.
The era of the Apollo/Saturn missions was perhaps the most exciting period in American space exploration history. Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center were buzzing with activity. Thousands of workers came to town to build the facilities and launch the missions needed to put an American on the Moon before the end of the decade.
Work at KSC involved much more than just launching rockets. It was a place like none other on Earth. Technicians performed intricate operations, and hazards abounded everywhere, including lightning, fire, highly-toxic fuels, snakes, heat, explosives, LOX spills, and even plutonium. The reward for months of 7-day workweeks under intense pressure was witnessing a Saturn V at liftoff.
For anyone who ever wished they had worked at Kennedy Space Center during the Apollo era, this book is the next best thing. The only thing missing is the smell of rocket fuel in the morning.