Space is a curious and unknown topic for many. What is out there, how we go about finding out, what preparations are needed, and who are the people who might get us there? These are just a few of the questions that need answers. Here is a list of titles that answer some of those questions.
Almost Heaven: The Story of Women in Space by Bettyann Kevles.
Read by Kerry Cundiff. Reading time 11 hours 51 minutes.
Account of forty women of diverse international cultures and various ages struggling to enter American and Soviet space programs during the Cold War and later. From extensive interviews and research, Yale historian chronicles legal, institutional, and social developments that eventually eased women's participation in the secretive, male dominated field.
Download Almost Heaven, DB58143
Comm Check: The Final Flight of Shuttle Columbia by Michael Cabbage and William Harwood.
Read by Bill Wallace. Reading time 12 hours 19 minutes.
Journalists chronicle the last mission of the space shuttle Columbia that disintegrated upon re-entry on February 1, 2003, killing seven astronauts. Behind-the-scenes account details the accident, believed to be caused by wing damage from foam insulation debris. Covers the subsequent investigation and the tragedy's repercussions for the shuttle program.
Download Comm Check, DB60047
Countdown: A History of Space Flight by T.A. Heppenheimer.
Read by Steven Carpenter. Reading time 19 hours 7 minutes.
A chronicle of international efforts at space exploration since the 1930s. Describes the early experiments and breakthroughs, key personalities whose vision and work advanced the science of space flight, the technologies that made it possible, and the obstacles that were overcome in conquering the frontier of space.
Download Countdown, DB46019
Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon by Colin Burgess, Kate Doolan and Bert Vis.
Read by Bill Wallace. Reading time 14 hours 33 minutes.
Profiles the eight American astronauts who lost their lives before the 1969 lunar landing of Apollo 11, three in a well-publicized launch pad fire, four in aircraft accidents, and another in an automobile crash. Also commemorates their counterparts, the Russian cosmonauts who died during the superpowers' space race.
Download Fallen Astronauts, DB60535
Flight: My Life in Mission Control by Christopher C. Kraft.
Read by Lou Harpenau. Reading time 14 hours 43 minutes.
NASA's first flight director offers an insider's view of the early days of the space program in the 1960s. He describes past achievements such as the first manned launch with Alan Shepard, and the glitches, near disasters, and successes, culminating with the astronauts walking on the moon. Some strong language.
Download Flight, DB53219
For Spacious Skies: The Uncommon Journey of a Mercury Astronaut by M. Scott Carpenter and Kris Stoever.
Read by Bill Wallace. Reading time 14 hours 42 minutes.
Autobiography of one of the seven Project Mercury astronauts. Carpenter revisits his childhood, naval aviation training, and selection to NASA's landmark program. He details his 1962 three-orbit mission aboard Aurora 7 and his reactions that averted disaster upon reentry. Co-written with his daughter.
Download For Spacious Skies, DB57329
Genesis: The Story of Apollo 8: The First Manned Flight to another World by Robert Zimmerman.
Read by Gary Telles. Reading time 10 hours 55 minutes.
Recounts the flight of Apollo 8, the first manned vehicle to venture beyond Earth's orbit. Provides personal biographies of the three astronauts and assesses their accomplishment in the context of the Cold War and the turbulent political events of 1968.
Download Genesis, DB49671
Gus Grissom: The Lost Astronaut by Ray E. Boomhower.
Read by Steven Carpenter. Reading time 7 hours 46 minutes.
Biography of one of the seven original Mercury astronauts, Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom. Follows Grissom's selection by NASA in 1959 and his missions in space. Describes the catastrophic fire in the Apollo 1 spacecraft that killed him, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee on January 27, 1967 at Cape Kennedy.
Download Gus Grissom, DB60634
Hubble: The Mirror on the Universe by Robin Kerrod.
Read by Butch Hoover. Reading time 6 hours 53 minutes.
Astronomer explores the nature and evolution of the universe based on the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope launched in 1990. Describes the structure of galaxies, the life cycles of stars, and the planets in Earth's solar system. Includes background information on the Hubble project.
Download Hubble, DB58020
The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America's Race in Space by Eugene Cernan and Don Davis.
Read by Steven Carpenter. Reading time 13 hours 55 minutes.
This memoir of a space pioneer describes his personal experiences during his years with NASA, especially the flights of Gemini 9, Apollo 10, and Apollo 17. Cernan recalls the technical problems, his relations with fellow astronauts, and some family repercussions, but mostly the thrill of being in space and walking on the moon.
Download The Last Man on the Moon, DB50403
Light This Candle: the Life and Times of Alan Shepard, America's First Spaceman by Neal Thompson.
Read by Dan Bloom. Reading time 18 hours 54 minutes.
Journalist describes how NASA chose Mercury Seven's Alan Shepard (1923-1998) as the first American in space. Drawing on exclusive access to private papers and interviews, Thompson portrays Shepard as impatient, driven, womanizing, and competitive. Details his life and career before, during, and after the space program. Strong language.
Download Light This Candle, DB59129
Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell & Jeffrey Kluger.
Read by L.J. Ganser. Reading time 15 hours 55 minutes.
Apollo 13 was to have been the fifth mission to the moon. But two days into the trip, on April 13, 1970, the oxygen tank exploded in the command module, placing the three astronauts in grave danger. Lovell describes those terrifying days as astronauts, contractors, and Mission Control struggled to bring Apollo 13 safely back to earth. Basis for the movie Apollo 13.
Download Lost Moon, DB40691
The Mercury 13: The Untold Story of Thirteen American Women and the Dream of Space Flight by Martha Ackmann.
Read by Carol Dines. Reading time 10 hours 31 minutes.
Professor relates the experiences of thirteen female pilots who underwent secret testing for potential inclusion in the U.S. space program during the 1960s. Using historical research and firsthand interviews, Ackmann follows Jerrie Cobb, Wally Funk, and others through the selection process, barrage of trials, and battle against gender discrimination.
Download The Mercury 13, DB57609
Mission Jupiter: The Spectacular Journey of the Galileo Spacecraft by Daniel Fischer.
Read by Butch Hoover. Reading time 10 hours 1 minute.
Award-winning German columnist describes the landmark discoveries of NASA's Galileo space probe, which reached Jupiter, after passing by Venus and two asteroids, in December 1995, more than six years after liftoff. Fischer provides mission history and specifications, focusing on what the project data revealed about the planet's moons and atmosphere.
Download Mission Jupiter, DB57435
Rocket Man: Robert H. Goddard and the Birth of the Space Age by David A. Clary.
Read by Mark Ashby. Reading time 11 hours 25 minutes.
Biography of Massachusetts-born physicist known as the American father of modern rocketry. This balanced portrait of Goddard (1882-1945) not only considers his contributions to space-flight technology, major among them the liquid-fueled rocket, but also his contradictory nature and the rise and fall of his image in the twentieth century.
Download Rocket Man, DB57549
Space Odyssey: The First Forty Years of Space Exploration by Serge Brunier.
Read by Mark Ashby. Reading time 7 hours 36 minutes.
French journalist chronicles the landmark achievements of humankind's space ventures from Yuri Gagarin's inaugural flight and Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon to twenty-first-century Mars probes. Discusses Russian and American missions, technological developments, the International Space Station, challenges posed by deep space exploration, and more.
Download Space Odyssey, DB59478
Space Shuttle: The First 20 Years edited by Tony Reichhardt for Air & Space and Smithsonian magazine.
Read by Tom Burch. Reading time 9 hours 3 minutes.
Seventy-seven astronauts who lived and worked on reusable orbiters from 1981 to 2001 reminisce about lift-off, weightless conditions, and reentry.
Download Space Shuttle, DB55789
Taking Science to the Moon: Lunar Experiments and the Apollo Program by Donald A. Beattie.
Read by Jack Fox. Reading time 13 hours 50 minutes.
Insider's view of how NASA staffers banded with scientists to expand the research activities of the moon landing, an unprecedented undertaking. Discusses the behind-the-scenes maneuvering leading to Project Apollo's scientific achievements, which enriched knowledge not only of the Moon but of the planet Earth.
Download Taking Science to the Moon, DB55465