Bold They Rise


Bold They Rise

The Space Shuttle Early Years, 1972-1986

David Hitt and Heather R. Smith
Foreword by Bob Crippen

Outward Odyssey: A People's History of Spaceflight Series

368 pages

eBook (PDF)
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June 2014


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November 2021


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June 2014


$36.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2014


$26.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

After the Apollo program put twelve men on the moon and safely brought them home, anything seemed possible. In this spirit, the team at NASA set about developing the Space Shuttle, arguably the most complex piece of machinery ever created. The world’s first reusable spacecraft, it launched like a rocket, landed like a glider, and carried out complicated missions in between.
Bold They Rise tells the story of the Space Shuttle through the personal experiences of the astronauts, engineers, and scientists who made it happen—in space and on the ground, from the days of research and design through the heroic accomplishments of the program to the tragic last minutes of the Challenger disaster. In the participants’ own voices, we learn what so few are privy to: what it was like to create a new form of spacecraft, to risk one’s life testing that craft, to float freely in the vacuum of space as a one-man satellite, to witness a friend’s death. A “guided tour” of the shuttle—in historical, scientific, and personal terms—this book provides a fascinating, richly informed, and deeply personal view of a feat without parallel in the human story.
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Author Bio

David Hitt is the coauthor of Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story (Nebraska, 2008). Heather R. Smith has worked as an education writer for NASA. Bob Crippen is a NASA astronaut who piloted the first Space Shuttle flight.


"This book is essential reading and perhaps the perfect companion to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's recently opened Atlantis exhibit."—Emily Carney,

"This book is a welcome addition to the spectacular Outward Odyssey series and any space enthusiast's collection that does not carry it—is missing something vital. . . . [Bold They Rise] is at times gripping with the thrill found only in the "firsts" involved with anything to do with space exploration . . . a solid read which provides important information regarding NASA's program of record for more than thirty years."—Jason Rhian,

“Read this book to experience the Space Shuttle as it matured. Smith and Hitt tap sources that made this aerospace wonder’s early history. You’ll feel the needs and wants of those involved; the joys and sadness that came with conceiving, building, and flying this vehicle. It’s a trip—I know.”—Charles D. Walker, engineer, corporate executive, first commercial industry astronaut, STS-41D, STS-51D, STS-61B

“Although the shuttle program has now run its course, this wonderful book brings back the awe, the inspiration, the promise, and the sadness associated with the early history of those magnificent vehicles and the teams of ground and flight crews that flew them.”—Jerry L. Ross (Col., USAF, Ret.), NASA astronaut, STS-61B, -27, -37, -55, -74, -88, and -110, and author of Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA’s Record-Setting Frequent Flyer

“A rich, engaging account of the first years of the Space Shuttle era, Bold They Rise recounts the development and pioneering missions of a truly magnificent flying machine that helped open the door to space for scientists such as myself.”—Donald A. Thomas, NASA astronaut, STS-65, STS-70, STS-83, and STS-94

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