Epic Rivalry

Epic Rivalry

The Inside Story of the Soviet and American Space Race

Book - 2007
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When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon in 1969, they personified an almost unimaginable feat-the incredibly complex task of sending humans safely to another celestial body. This extraordinary odyssey, which grew from the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, was galvanized by the Sputnik launch in 1957. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of Sputnik, National Geographic recaptures this gripping moment in the human experience with a lively and compelling new account. Written by Smithsonian curator Von Hardesty and researcher Gene Eisman, Epic Rivalry tells the story from both the American and the Russian points of view, and shows how each space-faring nation played a vital role in stimulating the work of the other. Scores of rare, unpublished, and powerful photographs recall the urgency and technical creativity of both nations' efforts. The authors recreate in vivid detail the "parallel universes" of the two space exploration programs, with visionaries Wernher von Braun and Sergei Korolev and political leaders John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev at the epicenters. The conflict between countries, and the tense drama of their independent progress, unfolds in vivid prose. Approaching its subject from a uniquely balanced perspective, this important new narrative chronicles the epic race to the moon and back as it has never been told before-and captures the interest of casual browsers and science, space, and history enthusiasts alike.
Publisher: Washington, D.C. : National Geographic, 2007.
ISBN: 9781426201196
Call Number: 629.409 HARDESTY
Characteristics: p. ; cm.
Subjects: Space race.
Astronautics -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Astronautics -- Soviet Union -- History -- 20th century.
Additional Contributors: Eisman, Gene
Khrushchev, Sergeĭ
Alternative Title: Epic rivalry


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Jan 05, 2018

Von Hardesty’s ‘Epic Rivalry’ - The Inside Story of the Soviet & American Space Race (Published in 2007) was impressive. While Matthew Brzezinski’s ‘Red Moon Rising’ is also an excellent read and Michael D’Antonio ‘A Ball, A Dog, and A Monkey’ was good reading, I preferred Hardesty’s account of the Soviet Union & USA Space Race. This book focuses more on the space race and far less on the parallel development of ICBMs so we could annihilate one another. However, in retrospect each of the authors of these books focussed their account of the Space Race in different areas.

This book is a must read for any 20th Century history buff, especially, if a reader has an interest in man’s early venture into space. It is a great book for aspiring student engineers who have an interest in Aerospace Engineering and simply want to pack 25 years of space research and development history into just one book. What both the Soviet Union and the USA accomplished in those years 1945-1970, without the use of today’s advanced computer systems, was simply astonishing. Canadian’s should note and appreciate that Canada was also there in those early years with the launch of the Alouette 1 satellite in 1962 with the help of our American partners. Canada became the first nation, after the Soviet Union (Russian) and American superpowers, to design and build its own artificial Earth satellite; our satellite Alouette I followed by Alouette II studied the ionosphere.

On page 230 of Von Hardesty’s book, he describes the Command Module’s Computer on Apollo 8. It weighed 70 pounds (32 Kg.), it had a one-megahertz processor, one kilobyte of random-access memory and 12 kilobytes of read only memory. Today’s computers (written in 2007) have 500,000 times the RAM and thousands of times the processing speed. While Apollo 8 orbited 69 miles above the moon, Epic Rivalry (pages 231-232) also describes Frank Borman’s television broadcast to earth on December 24, 1968 describing the events of the day and he concluded with: “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with, good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good earth.” My only disappointment with this book was the minimal coverage of the late Apollo missions, Apollo 9 through 17. I remember exactly where I was when Commander Neil Armstrong steped down onto the lunar surface July 21, 1969 at 02:56:15 UTC on flight Apollo 11; Buzz Aldrin joined him 20 minutes later. This book is highly recommended by Senior Doctor-at-Bass! D. Adams.


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