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One reason why Neil Armstrong got the job

An evening pause: This short clip from the Discovery Science series Rocket Science illustrates one reason Neil Armstrong got the job to land the first spacecraft on the Moon, even though it shows Armstrong crashing his test vehicle!

The man was cool-headed. Not only did Armstrong not panic when a thruster failed, he kept trying to regain control of the craft until the last moment, ejecting less than a second before impact. Then, he was calm about it afterward, hardly mentioning the incident to others.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • Chris Kirkendall

    We sure lost a great man, a true American hero, in Neil Armstrong. I was always impressed at how low-key he was, never sought the limelight. This video really shows what a cool customer he was – seems nothing rattled him. Of course, we know that to be true of all the astronauts, especially the original 7, who were all test pilots. Anyone who has never read “The Right Stuff” or seen the movie (which captured the feel of the book & the times perfectly) should do so. Ironically, I was just a few miles away from the KSC in Cocoa Beach when the news came about Armstrong’s death…

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