The Space Race

An Audible Original
Narrated by: Kate Mulgrew
Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,804 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Gold Science & Technology trophy at the 2020 New York Festivals Radio Awards

The 1960s space race captured our imaginations and our dreams. Today’s efforts to revitalize and expand space travel is being driven not just by government agencies such as NASA, but also by visionaries such as Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic), Elon Musk (SpaceX), and Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin).

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 moon landing, this major documentary-drama series brings to life the past, present, and future of man’s exploration of space. Between 1969 and 1972, twelve Americans walked on the moon. You’ll get to experience the thrill of that era and much, much more.

Narrated by Kate Mulgrew (Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee for Orange Is the New Black; Obie Award winner for Iphigenia 2.0); TV: Star Trek: Voyager, film: Star Trek: Nemesis), The Space Race uses actual audio, original interviews, dramatic reconstructions, and first-hand accounts to tell the story of mankind’s first amazing steps off our world and onto the lunar surface.

With unprecedented access, The Space Race takes listeners to Virgin Galactic’s space program in the Mojave Desert, features conversations with Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan, Sergei Krikalev, Tim Peake, and numerous key players at mission control. This Audible Original and takes you behind the scenes to see how these exciting adventures in outer space came to be. 

©2019 Audible, Ltd (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

Our favorite moments from The Space Race

"We’re bringing you the latest pictures from Europa."
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Preparing for success or failure
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Selling the idea of a space station
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  • The Space Race
  • "We’re bringing you the latest pictures from Europa."
  • The Space Race
  • Preparing for success or failure
  • The Space Race
  • Selling the idea of a space station

"Thorough job covering the space race—a worthwhile listen."

David, Audible Listener
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About the Creator

Colin Brake was trained in script editing by Tony Holland, the co-creator of EastEnders, and subsequently worked on the award-winning BBC soap as a story editor and as a story line editor. He was a writer and script executive for the 1990s Carnival Films/BBC Saturday night adventure series BUGS. He has written scripts for a variety of shows including EastEnders, Crossroads, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, Byker Grove, and more than 30 episodes of the BBC daytime soap, Doctors. He has also written Doctor Who and Jago & Litefoot audio dramas for Big Finish. Additionally, he is a published author, having written novels for the best-selling BBC Books series of Doctor Who fiction (Price of Paradise, Judgement of the Judoon), as well as original children’s novels (Gunk Aliens), novelizations (Merlin), interactive fiction (Decide Your Destiny), and franchise fiction (Transformers, Doctor Who).

About the Creator

Patrick Chapman is an award-winning writer based in Dublin, Ireland. His audio work includes writing for Doctor Who (Big Finish) and B7 Media’s Dan Dare, as well as writing for the Audible documentary-drama series, The Space Race. He was producer on B7’s NY Festivals award-winning 2014 dramatization of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles for BBC Radio. Other work includes 20 episodes of animated television (Garth & Bev, Wildernuts, Sydney Sailboat/Bubble Bath Bay, The Wild Adventures of Blinky Bill) and Burning the Bed, an award-winning short film. He has published eight poetry collections and four books of fiction since 1991, most recently Slow Clocks of Decay; So Long, Napoleon Solo; Anhedonia; and Open Season on the Moon. With poet Dimitra Xidous, he founded and edits the poetry magazine The Pickled Body. He won first prize for a story in the 2003 Cinescape Genre Literary Contest, was twice a finalist in the Hennessy Literary Awards, and in 2010 received a coveted Pushcart Prize nomination.

About the Producer

Multi-award-winning science and environment journalist Richard Hollingham is an experienced radio producer, space correspondent for BBC Future, and a launch commentator for the European Space Agency. Winner of an Arthur C. Clarke Award for Space Achievement: Media, Broadcast, and Written, and runner-up in both the Best British Science Writer and Best Radio Program categories of the 2018 Association of British Science Writers’ Awards, he is a former Senior Producer for BBC’s flagship news program, Today, and its first science producer. A producer/host of the award-winning Space Boffins podcast and hundreds of BBC radio programs, Richard has written for New Scientist, Discover, and most national UK newspapers. Richard is author of Blood and Guts: a History of Surgery and co-author with Sue Nelson of How to Clone the Perfect Blonde (long-listed for the 2004 Royal Society science book prize).

About the Creator

Richard Kurti is a screenwriter and novelist whose film writing includes commissions for US studios (Universal, Warner Bros, Miramax, and Fox Searchlight) and UK companies such as Working Title and Pathe. In television his credits include BBC adaptations of Kidnapped (2005) and Sherlock Holmes (2007), episodes of Robin Hood (BBC), Primeval (ITV), Sinbad (Sky), Wolfblood (CBBC), and a large-scale adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal for Sky (2010). He has written several radio plays for BBC Radio 4 and Audible Originals, including critically acclaimed dramatizations of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles (2014), Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book (winner, Best Audio Drama, 2016 Audie Awards), Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot (2017), and the re-imagining of comic-strip space hero Dan Dare (winner, Best Online Drama, NYC International Radio Program Awards 2018). He has also written two YA novels for Walker Books—Monkey Wars and Maladapted. His novels, TV, and radio dramas have won multiple awards and nominations.

About the Producer

An award-winning radio producer, science journalist, and former BBC-TV science and environment correspondent, Sue Nelson has reported on science for all the BBC’s national television and radio news programs. She has hosted numerous Radio 4 programs, was editor of The Biologist (2010–15), and produces documentaries for BBC Radio. She also co-produces/hosts the Space Boffins podcast. Sue is a published playwright, has written for a TV game show, most of the UK’s newspapers, and has had several screenplays made into short films. Her book,Wally Funk’s Race for Space, was published in the UK (2018) and the US (2019).

About the Producer

Helen Quigley is a voice-over artist and producer with nearly twenty years’ experience in producing audio for broadcast. As a producer, her work includes network radio commercials for the BBC’s flagship TV programming, including Poldark, Line of Duty, Doctor Foster, The Apprentice, and Blue Planet II. Previously she was a continuity announcer and producer for Comedy Central UK, working with up-and-coming comedians. As a voice-over artist, she records commercials, training modules, telephone messages for major tech companies, and narration for web videos—from corporate to comic—including the worldwide viral hit, Porn Sex vs. Real Sex: The Differences Explained with Food, viewed more than 18 million times on YouTube.

About the Producer/Director

Andrew Mark Sewell is a multi-award-winning independent filmmaker, broadcast executive, and radio drama producer/director. Formerly creative director at BBC Worldwide, he was involved in all phases of preparing customized cross-format packages for broadcast. Credits include Tomorrow’s World+, Ghostwatch LIVE, and Walking with Dinosaurs. In radio, Sewell has a growing reputation for producing dramatic, widescreen audio stories, which sound lived-in, real, and cinematic. His name has become synonymous with some of the most popular science fiction audio drama produced in the last decade, including the BBC television series Blake’s 7 (BBC Radio) and Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles (BBC Radio). Film credits include Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (Best Narrative Feature, 2006 Palm Springs International Film Festival), The Cuckoo in the Clock, and Roundabout. Awards include Best Digital Drama for Dan Dare (BBC Radio) at the NYC International Radio Program Awards (2018), adding to his double Best Director wins in 2017 for I, Robot (BBC Radio) and Dan Dare. Sewell was also twice nominated as Best Drama Producer at the AudioUK Production Awards (2015, 2017).

About the Performer

Kate Mulgrew stars as Galina "Red" Reznikov, the tough Russian prison chef who is always keeping score, in the series Orange Is the New Black. She received a Critics Choice Television Award and a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy for her work. Mulgrew is internationally recognized as Captain Janeway, the first leading-role female captain in the Star Trek TV franchise in Star Trek: Voyager. Her career spans film, television, and the stage. Classically trained, she received a Golden Globe nomination at the age of 23 for her portrayal of Mrs. Columbo, the wife of the famous TV detective. Other notable television appearances include Kate Loves a Mystery, Cheers, Murphy Brown, St. Elsewhere, Ryan’s Hope, The Black Donnellys, Mercy, Warehouse 13, NTSF:SD:SUV::, and Mr. Mercedes. Film roles include Throw Momma from the Train, Star Trek: Nemesis, A Stranger Is Watching, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, and The Response. Mulgrew has toured throughout the United States as Katharine Hepburn in Tea at Five, for which she was nominated for Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel awards. Other theater credits include Equus, The American Dream, The Sandbox, Iphigenia 2.0 (for which she won an Obie), Our Leading Lady, Black Comedy, Titus Andronicus, and Somewhere Fun, all in New York. She performed in The Exonerated in London and regionally in The Royal Family, The Film Society, What the Butler Saw, Hedda Gabler, Measure for Measure, The Real Thing, Another Part of the Forest, Major Barbara, and Antony and Cleopatra. Her first book, Born with Teeth, a memoir about life lived to the fullest, made The New York Times best seller list. Her second book, How to Forget: A Daughter’s Memoir, was released in 2019. She resides in New York City.

What listeners say about The Space Race

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

All Nonfiction Parts GREAT but Fiction Bad

"The Space Race" is an audio documentary-drama series production of the era during which twelve American astronauts went to the moon (1969 - 1972), released in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first human moon landing. This includes narration of some historical facts, excerpts of command recordings or interviews from the time period, as well as speculative scenes acted out to try and give this production more flavor and originality.

This is fun to listen to, does not take too long, and I definitely recommend to lifelong fans of space exploration.

As advertised in the book description, this work "features conversations with Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan, Sergei Krikalev, Tim Peake, and numerous key players at mission control. This Audible Original takes you behind the scenes to see how these exciting adventures in outer space came to be." The strongest parts are when this work explains the history of the Space Race and includes sections of interviews with people who were really there, especially never-before-heard audio and inputs from important, yet underrepresented, figures.

The weakest parts of this audio production are when the content deviates from the facts of what really occurred during this crucial period in man's history. The scenes within aircraft where actors portray conversations between astronauts etc., for which we have no official record of, are so fake and unbelievable. The writing and acting of these scenes are so bad. I just do not see what they bring to the table other than to just take up airtime and give Audible Originals copyright permissions for the "original content" of this documentary-drama piece.

All of the "drama" bits should have been cut, and this would have been much better served as a straight no-nonsense nonfiction discussion of history, science, and technology. As it has been released, I can only give this 4 stars. I expected better.

OVERALL:
This is a great listen for super space exploration fans, especially those excited for plans for new operations to the moon and Mars. I really liked the interviews with people who lived during the Space Race and were either astronauts themselves or worked on the ground crew team. Having real recordings from the COMS were also really powerful in explaining key moments of this important and inspiring history. However, I did not like the narrator's voice and some of the reenactments were significantly overacted and therefore silly. I thought this would have been stronger if it stuck to what had actually happened, though the final chapter about possible futures was thought provoking.

This is fun to listen to once, but it is not the best product about the Space Race.

46 people found this helpful

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really long

This was a hard one. I loved the material, but really didn't need the dramatizations. Perhaps that should have been another book entirely. I enjoyed the interviews, however, perhaps it should have also been another book. Trust me, I feel like I just read 3 books.

32 people found this helpful

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A blend of past and future prediction space travel

Listened to all 10 chapters because of Kate Mulgrew as narrator. And to hear what they all cover. They do a thorough job of covering the space race between the U.S. and former U.S.S.R. But the story gets a little far out with the future prediction with human space travel. Overall, a worth while listen.

19 people found this helpful

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Can’t hear half of the book

I Love all the history books, about Space Travel. I was so disappointed in this one, because I could not hear half, of the recording. Chapter 5, was the only Chapter (until I stopped listening) that adjusted the Historical voice recordings, with the Narrators voice volume. The Narrator and the Story is a 5 Star. The Production of the recording was horrible.
If this book get redone, so I can actually hear it, I would love to try it again.

18 people found this helpful

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You lost me at Donald Trump

The book lost me when it included Donald Trump. if I wanted to hear a narcissistic orangutan, I'd go to the zoo.

15 people found this helpful

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Great Overview of Humanity's Second Greatest Story

Great hearing Kate Mulgrew's voice telling the story of the Space Race. Just enough detail in each chapter about each period of the past space programs to remind folks of just how dangerous this whole journey has been. The next steps will be even more so. It was also nice to hear about the Russian side of the story. Although I'm not sure why audio books insist on quoting non-Enlgish speakers with heavy accents!

I highly recommend this title for anyone needing a good reminder or new inspiration for why we NEED to continue to pursue space exploration.

9 people found this helpful

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Produced Re-enactments in some unnecessary spots

Some of the main historical audio was reproduced in places where it felt very unnecessary. Production quality was fantastic, I just struggled with parts that were re-done, sometimes mid-sentence. Overall a very interesting audiobook

8 people found this helpful

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Science without God Self Distruction

Even though this was great I am old enough to know most of the history, Excellent up to the Criticism of NASA Astronauts Reciting Psalms, Ok I thought that's interesting, Futher into this Audio Book I come to realize you did not right this book as History or the present Race, You Want to remove God from Science, You should pause the arrogance, Humans as you call us, "People" lol, Please be advised your own book is exactly why God is Omnipresent, No matter where you turn what you say or do, whatever achievement you make it is God. however you, we ,I or them get there, God is the Creator, Your arrogance and lack of Humilty speaks volumes, Even your stupid storyline of people going to colonize another world, thinking you can manipulate erase and control is very shameful, Yes we are Flawed Yes we make mistakes, But you remove God and History, You set a course for sad lonely people who self Distruct, As is playing out in your own STORY. The new science is. God wasn't necessary to Create the Universe Gravity did it on it's own. So we finally reduced it to the Chicken and the Egg, Well Where did Gravity come from, How did we acquire the specific fine tuning to be able to under stand even what gravity is, It is shameful the title. Should be a warning. Wake Up People, Past is necessary for future and We God is why we are here.

16 people found this helpful

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Things I didn't know

Interesting review of the devopment of space flight from its beginnings after WW2 to speculation about the future. Learned things I didn't know, esp about the Russians' programs.

6 people found this helpful

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A great listen

I heard Sue and Richard mention this on Space Boffins and decided to give it a listen. Glad I did. Even if you think you're familiar with all of the stories there are lots of details to keep you interested. You'll know more at the end then you knew at the beginning. It is well produced. Give it a try.

6 people found this helpful

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  • In car listener
  • 08-10-19

Not bad but skip the first chapter

Most important: Skip the first chapter. The first hour has little to do with the historical space race, but seems to be an 'America to the stars! (again)' piece of propaganda talking about the future of space exploration, and how America - with a little nod to other countries - deserves to rule space. This would have been much better placed at the end as a final chapter, but no - it's at the beginning.

The rest of the audiobook is pretty good - Mulgrew is a competent reader, the dramatisations are well done, and the mix between live-action, interviews, and historical dialogue is well done and not confusing - an ever present worry.

There is some repetition in places where a particular point is being hammered home, and once you get past the initial chapter there's a heady mix of national history starting with the V1 - not much of it is sugar-coated; Von Braun's Nazims isn't glossed over, and America's Vanguard TV-3 embarrassment is cheerfully remembered.

Yeah, worth a listen, but by its nature, probably not a recurring one.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Cog
  • 07-23-19

Fascinating, intelligent and insightful

Fifty years on from the moon landing, and the subject of many Hollywood movies, early space exploration is in danger of being mythologised. The Space Race takes it back to basics with an engaging, intelligent mix of eye witness accounts, original newsreels and fact based dramatisation.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. K. Leigh
  • 08-05-19

Easy listening but a little light on content

I enjoy anything serious about the history of space. This book provides a good arc across the decades from rocket development in WWII to future missions to Mars and beyond. However, it is quite light on content in many places, perhaps because it is trying to be so comprehensive. As a result it lacked the detail to make it a really great book. Also the narrative is padded out by scenes played out by actors at various moments in history. They drag on a bit sometimes in the loquacious way that American speakers often labour a point. More substantive content would have been appreciated. If you know your space history well, then this might fill in the odd gaps, especially the more recent stuff involving potential issues with long range space travel. The narration by Kate Mulgrew is enjoyable and has the right pace. The fictional trip towards the end set in the future on an interstellar starship is possibly a little fanciful, though it does throw up some interesting notions of the reality of such travel. Overall an interesting listen though not the best I have heard on individual topics like the space shuttle. But a good introduction to the topics and a nice refresher of some of the headlines from Wernher von Braun working for the Nazis before being squirrelled away after WWII by the Americans through to the present time and collaborative space exploration between nations and between governments and commercial ventures.

5 people found this helpful

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  • james palmer
  • 10-29-19

Good but frustrating

More like a documentary than an audio book. What really frustrated me was the use of actors in place of real recordings. When it can to Neil Armstrong's famous words they used an actor instead of listening to the man himself! It was this that took the edge off for me. Still happy with my purchase.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ralph N.
  • 09-18-19

Science fiction, science fact

If you’re interested in the moon landings and man in space, this is a must for you.
I listened to this book in hospital while I had issues with my eyes, so couldn’t watch tv, it was great being able to listen to a documentary. It was really well narrated, and I could visualise exactly what was being said.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mst007
  • 07-31-19

Good overview of the space program

Overall its a decent summary of the space race, with great production quality. Includes many historical figures voices, quotes, speeches, mission comms etc, only marred by a few "just too long" silences and Kate Mulgrew`s highly individual take on the pronounciation of NASA as Nasarr, which was a little irritating at times. I do enjoy these kind of Audible productions, they are a welcome break from a single narrator in the usual type of audiobooks I listen to. I`m about 75% of the way through and would recommend it to anyone wanting a refresher or good introduction to the timelines; the absolute genius of the scientists, engineers and specialists,the sheer guts, lateral thinking, and ambition to achieve is a welcome reminder of mankinds ability to reach for the stars and succeed, even though the authors were ever so slightly aggrieved they were mostly white men.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-10-19

enjoyable but nothing new

i enjoyed the book but towards the end its starts to lose steam as it enters sci fi

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-19-20

space time

great book for space history geeks up to the end of the shuttle and beyond

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  • Brett Hinsley
  • 07-30-20

First chapters are a little slow

First chapters are a little slow but I really enjoyed the book, definitive story of the past, present and future of humankind’s exploration of space. Well narrated recommended

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  • Bobby Yaari
  • 06-11-20

Not what you think...

Not a good listen by any stretch. Was hoping for history, but got whimsical musings instead.

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  • Nick Carter
  • 09-14-19

First 5 mins made me return it.

What happens after those 5 mins likely isn’t much better if that’s what you lead with.

1 person found this helpful