Did you know that the Sochi Winter Olympic Torch was sent to the International Space Station as part of the lead up to the 2014 winter games in Russia? While it is not the first Olympic Torch to be sent into space, it will be the first taken on a spacewalk. If you think about it, that is a pretty big accomplishment given that has only been about 50 years since the first manned spaceflight. Here are a few books you might enjoy if you’d like to learn more about how we got to space in the first place, what we are doing there now, and where the future may take us.
The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe chronicles the space race. Wolfe begins with the experimental flights that predated the Mercury program before delving into early American space flight.
The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel tells the same story as Tom Wolfe, but through the eyes of the women married to the early astronauts.
The Cosmonaut who Couldn’t Stop Smiling by Andrew Leslie Jenks is a biography of Yuri Gagarin, the first man to leave earth behind, and recounts the space race from the Soviet side.
Carrying the Fire : an Astronaut’s Journey by Michael Collins is by the man who stayed in the capsule during the first moon landing. It is a well-written, funny, accessible look back at his life.
Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut by Mike Mullane. The story of a man who watched the early astronauts as a child, then followed in their footsteps.
Mission to Mars by Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin Jr., Leonard David. The second man on the moon outlines his ideas on the future of space flight including how, why and when we should travel to Mars.