Tag Archives: Apollo 8

The man who suited up astronauts during the 1960s passes away at 101

R.I.P. Joseph Schmitt, the man who suited up all the astronauts during the 1960s, has passed away at 101.

Schmitt put Alan Shepard into his Freedom 7 capsule for the United States’ first spaceflight in May 1961, and he was still suiting up astronauts more than 20 years later, making sure everything was sealed and connected properly. Before any flight, he would spend long hours in the testing laboratory with the astronauts, getting them accustomed to their suits and troubleshooting problems.

He wrangled suits through the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs and into the space shuttle era, a span during which spacesuits went from being, essentially, modified military gear to high-tech creations that could protect an astronaut on a spacewalk or on a stroll on the moon.

An important man, but invisible at the time. In Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8 I included pictures of the three Apollo 8 astronauts getting suited up, with one picture including an unnamed technician in the background whom I now suspect was Schmtt. Until now, I had never even noticed the technician at all. The focus was the astronauts, which though reasonable is also not really thorough. Everyone should always be credited for what they do, especially when what they do is hard, historically significant, and has to be done right. What Schmitt did was all those things.

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Genesis now available on Kindle

It took Amazon a bit longer than everyone else, but the ebook edition of Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8 is now available for Kindle at amazon.com.

And of course, it can also be purchased at all other ebook bookstores, as well as here at Behind the Black.

Update: My Tuesday appearance on John Batchelor has been moved up to tonight (Monday) from 11 to 11:30 pm, during which we will be discussing Genesis, the election, and some space news of the day,

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The new ebook edition of Genesis

I am thrilled to announce that the new ebook edition of my first book, Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, is now officially available for sale for only $5.99 from Mountain Lake Press. The direct link to Mountain Lake Press’s sales page is here and on the right. Within two weeks the book will also be available at all retailers, but if you buy it direct from Mountain Lake Press, I will make a little extra money, which would be very much appreciated.

In creating this ebook edition I made sure that all the graphics from the original but out-of-print hardback were included. Valerie Anders, the wife of astronaut Bill Anders, added her own thoughts in a new foreword. I also added a new introduction discussing how the history of space exploration has evolved since the book’s initial publication in 1998. As I noted,
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Light posting

Just a note to explain the light posting yesterday and possibly today. I am reviewing the proof for the new ebook edition of my first book, Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8. Because the book is now out of print in both hardback and paperback, I want to have this new edition published and available for sale before the end of this month, which is why I must focus on getting that done quickly.

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