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Spacesuits: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Collection Hardcover – May 5, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Amanda Young is a museum specialist in Spacesuits and Astronaut Equipment for the Division of Space History of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. She was responsible for the Air and Space portion of “American Festival Japan ‘94”, a major exhibit in Tokyo, and in 2001 co-wrote the collections care booklet The Preservation, Storage and Display of Spacesuits. She was also a contributor to Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance (Princeton Architectural Press, 2005) and After Sputnik: 50 Years of the Space Age (Collins, 2007). She continues to conduct research into the causes of spacesuit deterioration.

Mark Avino In the Cockpit: Inside 50 History-Making Aircraft (Collins Design, 2007) and At the Controls: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Book of Cockpits (Boston Mills Press, 2001). A graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology, he joined the Smithsonian Institution in 1983. He lives with his wife and three children in Burke, Virginia.

Allan A. Needell is the Curator of Human Space Flight in the Division of Space History at the National Air and Space Museum. He has published on the history of physics, the origins of American national laboratories, and government/science relations. He is the author of a study of the career of a major American science administrator, Science, Cold War and the American State: Lloyd V. Berkner and the Balance of Professional Ideals (Routledge, 2000). Needell joined the National Air and Space Museum in 1981 and is currently responsible for the museum’s Apollo space flight collection.

Thomas P. Stafford is a retired Lieutenant General of the U.S. Air Force and a former NASA astronaut. Stafford piloted Gemini VI, the first rendezvous in space (1965), and commanded the Apollo 10 lunar mission (1969) and the historic Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (1975). He is the recipient of many awards in aviation and honorary degrees from American universities.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: powerHouse Books (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576874982
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576874981
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 12.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #418,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a one of a kind with insight into the history, construction and space program using the history of the spacesuit as a timeline. The photographs taken by a professional at the National Air and Space Museum are pure artwork. Suits from all of the early manned space flights, as well as prototypes never seen before are displayed in this book. The author is an National expert on spacesuit history, construction and preservation. The book is more than a pictorial history- it is a museum gallery of exquisite photographs of the spacesuits in our National collections. This book is easy to read and gives details so experts in the field are also educated by the material in this book.
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This book is a must for every serious space collector and space enthusiast. The content is written with scientific perfection - but without an academic language. The photos and radiographic images are fantastic and never seen before. Also the part about how to preserve, store and display spacesuits is interesting. And there is a list with all suits of the NASA collection. I'd give six stars if it were possible.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Spacesuits" easily ranks in the top five most interesting and illuminating "space" books that I have read in several decades. And the pictures are equally fascinating too!

A while back I had read that John Glenn's Mercury spacesuit had shrunk and is now very fragile. This didn't sound right. After all, common sense suggests that if these things are designed and built to withstand the rigors of outer space, they should last forever. Right?

Wrong!

Museum Specialist Amanda Young starts off this saga by providing nicely detailed, but not burdensome, descriptions of the various spacesuit types and different models thereof in the Smithsonian's Collection. If you believe that you know all there is to know about U.S. spacesuits (like I did), you're in for one very big surprise. There are so many variations, not just of the suits themselves, but of the helmets and gloves as well, that it's a wonder anyone could keep track of them. A detailed listing of the suits in the collection appears at the end of the book. It is about 10 pages long and the font size is not large.

But where this book and Ms. Young really shine is when she discusses the problems of preserving and displaying these priceless national treasures. Her prose is clear, concise, and devoid of the baggage one usually sees when the writer is attempting to impress the reader. It doesn't take long to realize that the author is someone for whom these suits are not abstract objects. One can easily tell that Young has touched, examined, probed, and hefted spacesuits all the way from Alan Shepard's Mercury suit to Tom Stafford's Apollo-Soyuz suit.

The deterioration of some of these suits is both devastating and disturbing.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book shows spacesuits from as early as Wiley Post to the present
Space Shuttle program. Even includes suits from the MOL Program and
experimental ones. Suits, helmets, gloves, and boots are shown. There
is also a list of suits in the NASM collection. However, there are no
photos of the early Space Shuttle Program USAF type suits and the blue
flightsuits/gear. Other related books include: U.S. Space Gear
Outfitting the Astronaut by Lillian D. Kozloski and US Spacesuits by
Kenneth S. Thomas and Harold J. McMann. I would like for someone to
write books on the following: Flown spacesuits from Mercury to ASTP and
the Shuttle program; NASA spaceflight survival gear and tools; NASA
flightsuits, jackets, and gear; U.S. military high altitude suits.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you like books on anything space related then this is a book you need to have in your collection. The photos and accompanying descriptions about the development of space suits are fantastic. I am sure you will enjoy the book. If my review has been helpful, please let me know.
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I'm not sure of another book that exists that is solely dedicated to the spacesuit. I'm a space history fan, and the book is full of pictures and information that helps me realize just how vitally important every tiny component of a spacesuit is. Everyone is aware, of course, that it has to be airtight, heat and cold resistant, etc. But what amazes me even more is the evolution of the suit. The brave souls who tried the first ones, and the improved ones. After all, a spacesuit is really a mini space capsule. And I think that's amazing. This book illustrates that very well.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my 10 year old son who loves anything space. He adores this book. He reads it all the time and the detailed pictures keep him coming back. He quotes things from it constantly. I am so happy with this purchase.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I gave this as a present to my nephew and he loved it. According to him, the book is fascinating and has some really interesting information about space suits design. He has decided to do a report for school on this topic. And best of all, I now get to borrow it from him and read it for myself!
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