Outposts on the Frontier

Outposts on the Frontier

A Fifty-Year History of Space Stations

Jay Chladek
Foreword by Clayton C. Anderson

Outward Odyssey: A People's History of Spaceflight Series

520 pages
35 photographs, 19 illustrations, index


August 2017


$37.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest man-made structure to orbit Earth and has been conducting research for close to a decade and a half. Yet it is only the latest in a long line of space stations and laboratories that have flown in orbit since the early 1970s. The histories of these earlier programs have been all but forgotten as the public focused on other, higher-profile adventures such as the Apollo moon landings.

A vast trove of stories filled with excitement, danger, humor, sadness, failure, and success, Outposts on the Frontier reveals how the Soviets and the Americans combined strengths to build space stations over the past fifty years. At the heart of these scientific advances are people of both greatness and modesty. Jay Chladek documents the historical tapestry of the people, the early attempts at space station programs, and how astronauts and engineers have contributed to and shaped the ISS in surprising ways. Outposts on the Frontier delves into the intriguing stories behind the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory, the Almaz and Salyut programs, Skylab, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, Spacelab, Mir station, Spacehab, and the ISS and gives past-due attention to Vladimir Chelomei, the Russian designer whose influence in space station development is as significant as Sergei Korolev’s in rocketry.

Outposts on the Frontier is an informative and dynamic history of humankind’s first outposts on the frontier of space.

Author Bio

Jay Chladek is a spaceflight historian and a regular contributor to the online forum collectSPACE. Clayton C. Anderson retired in 2013 after a thirty-year career with NASA and two missions to the International Space Station. He is the author of The Ordinary Spaceman: From Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut (Nebraska, 2015).


"Chladek expertly brings to life the stunning successes and tragic failures of space exploration in this worthy addition to science, history, and space collections."—Dan Kaplan, Booklist

"A notable achievement and an important book."—Nicholas Sambaluk, H-War

"Outposts on the Frontier is an informative and dynamic history of humankind's first outposts on the frontier of space."—Bob Edmonds, McCormick Messenger

“From Salyut, Skylab, and Mir to the International Space Station: with each passing orbit we learn and benefit from accumulated data and ongoing studies not only relating to our precious, fragile environment but the human physiology and possible long-term consequences for astronauts on protracted space missions beyond Earth orbit. This book highlights the incredible history of the orbiting vehicles that enable us to continue that crucial work: the space stations.”—Duane Graveline (1931–2016), NASA scientist-astronaut and author of Surly Bonds and From Laika with Love 

“Essential reading for anyone wanting to look beyond our early crewed space shots into the fascinating realm of a half century of international science missions aboard orbiting space laboratories.”—Jonathan Ward, author of Rocket Ranch and Countdown to a Moon Launch

“I am personally delighted that Jay Chladek has written such a well-researched and authoritative book on the global history of space stations for the outstanding Outward Odyssey series.  It will be a very welcome addition to the series and my bookcase.”—Manfred (“Dutch”) von Ehrenfried, NASA flight controller (1961–68) and support contractor to the Space Station Program Office (1984–96)

“Team spirit and solidarity: these are the fundamentals for any successful multiperson spaceflight.  I once trained hard for a mission to the Salyut 7 orbiting space laboratory, and I know that working aboard any space station, particularly the International Space Station, depends on a truly cooperative effort. This book will give you insight to that wonderfully productive and beneficial international history.”—Lt. Col. Patrick Baudry, French Air Force (ret.), Airbus senior test pilot and STS-51G cosmonaut and astronaut

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Humble Beginnings
2. Chelomei and Almaz
3. Salyut
4. The Apollo Applications Project
5. The Rocky Road to Salyut Success
6. On-Orbit Diplomacy
7. Salyut Endurance!
8. European Participation
9. Soviet Space Station Mir
10. The Odd Couple
11. The International Space Station
12. Columbia
13. Construction Resumes
14. Final Construction

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