• Ambassadors from Earth: Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft

  • Outward Odyssey: A People's History of Spaceflight
  • By: Jay Gallentine
  • Narrated by: Douglas R Pratt
  • Length: 20 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Ambassadors from Earth: Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft

By: Jay Gallentine
Narrated by: Douglas R Pratt
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Publisher's Summary

Ambassadors from Earth relates the story of the first unmanned space probes and planetary explorers - from the Sputnik and Explorer satellites launched in the late 1950's to the thrilling interstellar Voyager missions of the '70's - that yielded some of the most celebrated successes and spectacular failures of the space age.

Keep in mind that our first mad scrambles to reach orbit, the moon, and the planets were littered with enough histrionics and cliffhanging turmoil to rival the most far-out sci-fi film. Utilizing original interviews with key players, journal excerpts, and primary source documents, Jay Gallentine delivers a quirky and unforgettable look at the lives and legacy of the Americans and Soviets who conceived, built, and guided those unmanned missions to the planets and beyond. Of special note is his in-depth interview with James Van Allen, the discoverer of the rings of planetary radiation that now bear his name.

Ambassadors from Earth is an engaging bumper-car ride through a fog of head-banging uncertainty, bleeding-edge technology, personality clashes, organizational frustrations, brutal schedules, and the occasional bright spot. Confessed one participant, “We were making it up as we went along”.

The book is published by University of Nebraska Press. The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks.

©2009 Jay Gallentine (P)2020 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

An intriguing and essential read on the history of unmanned space programs..." (Journal for the History of Discoveries)  

Many space buffs, especially young ones, should find this a satisfying narrative." (Publishers Weekly

What listeners say about Ambassadors from Earth: Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft

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Space Travel History to the Max!

WOW, this was a ride of a lifetime. You actually feel like your part of each JPL, NASA & ESA missions. From the development to the final solutions for each planetary voyage, you are there! I particularly enjoyed the science of the "Grand Voyage" and it's gravity assists for reaching the outer planets and beyond the Kuiper belt and to the limits of the Heliosphere the end of the Sun's influence on our Solar System. I have re-listened to this audio book multiple times and it has enforced how unique and dangerous space flight is. If you appreciate history, space & science, then this is your book!

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The original space program

Manned space missions got a lot of headlines, understandably enough, but were almost a sideshow to the scientific program. I'm old enough to remember Sputnik, but a lot of this story of unmanned missions passed me by as it was happening. I read headlines and not a whole lot more. So this book was a great way to get caught up, and also to learn about the tussle between the manned and unmanned space projects. It follows the careers and personal lives of people like James van Allen and his student George Ludwig to help one see how the programs intersected with their lives. Very well done all around.

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Fun

Such a fun book, with a great reader. Very interesting, informative, amusing. Highly recommended book.

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Amazing listen!

Fascinating listen about the history and evolution of unmanned space probes and exploration. Douglas R. Pratt's crystal clear narration is absolutely superb and really brings the story to life. I learned so much.

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Profile Image for Becky Marlow
  • Becky Marlow
  • 05-07-21

excellent book, excellent narration

excellent book,
excellent narration
really enjoyed the trip through space probe history
also very funny at points