Space Oddities: The Surprising Lives Of Astronauts

Blast off with adventures of rocket scientists and bold explorers who dared to shoot for the moon—and soared through space.

Of the more than seven billion people on this planet—plus those who have come before us—it’s a small group who can say they have left Earth and come back to tell the tale. Whether you’re fascinated by the science and drama of space travel, or curious about how these pioneering cosmonauts handle the isolation that comes with the job, astronaut memoirs bring one of the world’s most fascinating professions to life.

From astronauts’ personal memoirs to history and nonfiction documenting tales of the space race, these stellar accounts help us earthlings feel just a little more connected to the great void and the stars beyond.

Check out this comprehensive list of astronaut biographies.

Moon Shot

Desperate to beat the Russians into space, NASA put together a crew of the nation's most daring test pilots: the seven men who were to lead America to the moon. The first into space was Alan Shepard; the last was Deke Slayton, whose irregular heartbeat kept him grounded until 1975....

Spaceman

Mike Massimino's childhood space dreams were born the day Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Growing up in a working-class Long Island family, he catapulted himself to Columbia....

An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth

Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4000 hours in space....

Endurance

A stunning memoir from the astronaut who spent a record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station....

The Man Who Knew the Way to the Moon

Without John C. Houbolt, a mid-level engineer at NASA, Apollo 11 would never have made it to the moon. Top NASA engineers on the project, including Werner Von Braun, strongly advocated for a single, huge spacecraft to travel to the moon, land, and return to Earth....

Failure Is Not an Option

Gene Kranz was present at the creation of America's manned space program and was a key player in it for three decades....

Rocket Men

The riveting inside story of three heroic astronauts who took on the challenge of mankind's historic first mission to the moon, from the best-selling author of Shadow Divers....

The Sky Below

An epic memoir from a man whose life is defined by exploration and innovation....

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin

At 9:32 a.m. on July 16, 1969, time stood still throughout the world, as thousands converged at the Kennedy Space Center and millions tuned in on live television. Apollo 11 was on its way to a historic first landing on the Moon....  

Hidden Figures

The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America's greatest achievements in space....

Carrying the Fire

In Carrying the Fire, Michael Collins conveys, in a very personal way, the drama, beauty, and humor of the adventure of reaching the moon....

First Man

When Apollo 11 touched down on the Moon’s surface in 1969, the first man on the Moon became a legend. In First Man, author James R. Hansen explores the life of Neil Armstrong....

Magnificent Desolation

Forty years ago, Buzz Aldrin became the second human, minutes after Neil Armstrong, to set foot on a celestial body other than the Earth....

Riding Rockets

In 1978, the first group of space shuttle astronauts was introduced to the world - 29 men and six women who would carry NASA through the most tumultuous years of the program....

The Space Barons

The Space Barons is the story of a group of billionaire entrepreneurs who are pouring their fortunes into the epic resurrection of the American space program....

Chasing Space

Leland Melvin is the only person in human history to catch a pass in the National Football League and in space....

Strange Angel

The Los Angeles Times headline screamed: Rocket Scientist Killed in Pasadena Explosion. The man known as Jack Parsons, a maverick rocketeer who helped transform a derided sci-fi plotline into actuality, was at first mourned as a scientific prodigy, but....

Neil Armstrong

Much has been written about Neil Armstrong, America's modern hero and history's most famous space traveler....

Ask an Astronaut

Based on his historic mission to the International Space Station, Ask an Astronaut is Tim Peake's guide to life in space....

The Astronaut Wives Club

The Astronaut Wives Club tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history....

The Ordinary Spaceman

What's it like to travel at more than 850 MPH, riding in a supersonic T-38 twin turbojet engine airplane? What happens when the space station toilet breaks....

Sally Ride

Sally Ride made history as the first American woman in space. A member of the first astronaut class to include women, NASA chose her for the seventh shuttle mission....

Apollo Pilot

In October 1968 Donn Eisele flew with fellow astronauts Walt Cunningham and Wally Schirra into Earth orbit in Apollo 7....

The Astronaut Maker

One of the most elusive and controversial figures in NASA's history, George W. S. Abbey was called "the Dark Lord", "the Godfather", and "UNO" (unidentified NASA official) by those within NASA. Yet Abbey had more influence on human spaceflight than almost anyone in history....

Safely to Earth

In this one-of-a-kind memoir, Jack Clemons - a former lead engineer in support of NASA - takes listeners behind the scenes and into the inner workings of the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs during their most exciting years....

High Calling

February 1, 2003. A light flashed over a Texas sky and twisted metal rained across the countryside....

Skunk Works

From the development of the U-2 to the Stealth fighter, the never-before-told story behind America's high-stakes quest to dominate the skies....

A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts

This book conveys every aspect of the Apollo missions with breathtaking immediacy and stunning detail....

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream

Here is the tale of thirteen women who proved not only that they were as tough as any man but also that they were brave enough to challenge the government....

Kelly

Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson led the design of such crucial aircraft as the P-38 and Constellation, but he will be more remembered for the U-2 and SR-71 spy planes. His extraordinary leadership of the Lockheed "Skunk Works" cemented his reputation....

Rocket Billionaires

For the larger-than-life personalities now staking their fortunes on the development of rocket ships, the new race to explore space could be a dead end, a lucrative opportunity - or the key to humanity's salvation....

Rise of the Rocket Girls

The riveting true story of the women who launched America into space....

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