In the 50 years since Sputnik's historic orbit kickstarted a race to the stars, spaceflight has moved from a speculative and experimental science to a staple of contemporary life. Space exploration has changed the way we look at our universe, our planet, and even the people around us.
AFTER SPUTNIK will explore the first 50 years of achievements in space with a guided tour of the artifacts in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum. This is the premier collection of space artifacts in the world, and includes most US artifacts; major Russian artifacts on loan; and most recently, Burt Rutan's Space Ship One. In addition, the museum's popular culture collection and an art collection include objects such as a 1930s Buck Rogers stopwatch, and Norman Rockwell's famous painting, Suiting Up.
Using a selection of 180 to 200 objects, this book will tell the artifact stories to convey a sense of what it was like to be there when the object was in use, accompanied by dramatic photographs. The artifacts will range from the famous, such as John Glenn's Friendship 7 Mercury spacecraft and the Mars Pathfinder lander and Sojourner rover, to the equally rare, but less well known, such as the Surveyor 3 camera returned from the Moon and Gordon Cooper's space boots. No other book can offer this breadth and depth of artifacts.
About the Author
Martin Collins is a curator at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and is the author/editor of several books on space history and on science, technology, and society in the twentieth century, including Space Race: The US-USSR Competition to Reach the Moon (1999). He lives in Takoma Park, Maryland.