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Astronauts' Pen

Journeys to the stars, views from above, and the endurance to make it in space.

2017 has been a productive year for astronauts. Many world records have been broken, new levels of scientific research have been achieved, and many astronauts took to writing about their experiences in space now that they've settled back on Earth.

Have you wondered what life is like in space, what it really takes to become anastronaut, or are you just mesmerized by the beautiful photos of Earth taken from space? You'll find these answers and more, from multiple perspectives, in the books listed below. Experience in space can vary greatly from person to person, and this year, we are thankful to have such an abundance of works for all ages to read about them all!


Amazon Says: NATIONAL BEST SELLER A stunning, personal memoir from the astronaut and modern-day hero who spent a record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station—a message more...
Amazon Says: NATIONAL BEST SELLER A stunning, personal memoir from the astronaut and modern-day hero who spent a record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station—a message of hope for the future that will inspire for generations to come. The veteran of four spaceflights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space, Scott Kelly has experienced things very few have. Now, he takes us inside a sphere utterly hostile to human life. He describes navigating the extreme challenge of long-term spaceflight, both life-threatening and mundane: the devastating effects on the body; the isolation from everyone he loves and the comforts of Earth; the catastrophic risks of colliding with space junk; and the still more haunting threat of being unable to help should tragedy strike at home--an agonizing situation Kelly faced when, on a previous mission, his twin brother's wife, American Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was shot while he still had two months in space.      Kelly's humanity, compassion, humor, and determination resonate throughout, as he recalls his rough-and-tumble New Jersey childhood and the youthful inspiration that sparked his astounding career, and as he makes clear his belief that Mars will be the next, ultimately challenging, step in spaceflight.      In Endurance, we see the triumph of the human imagination, the strength of the human will, and the infinite wonder of the galaxy. less...
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Amazon Says: NASA astronaut Scott Kelly was the first to spend an entire year in space! Discover his awe-inspiring journey in this fascinating picture book memoir (the perfect companion more...
Amazon Says: NASA astronaut Scott Kelly was the first to spend an entire year in space! Discover his awe-inspiring journey in this fascinating picture book memoir (the perfect companion to his adult book Endurance) that takes readers from Scott’s childhood as an average student to his record-breaking year among the stars.   Scott Kelly wasn’t sure what he wanted to be when he grew up. He struggled in school and often got in trouble with his twin brother, Mark.   Then one day Scott discovered a book about test pilots and astronauts that set him on a new path.   His new focus led him to fly higher and higher, becoming first a pilot and then an astronaut, along with his brother—the first twin astronauts in history. But his greatest accomplishment of all was commanding the International Space Station and spending nearly a year in space, which set the record for the longest spaceflight by an American.   This story of an ordinary boy who grew up to do extraordinary things is perfect for children, fans of Scott's adult book Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery, aspiring astronauts, and anyone who has ever tried to defy the odds. It will amaze and inspire you. less...
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Amazon Says: Was it fun to do a space walk? How squashed were you in the capsule on the way back? What were your feelings as you looked down on Earth for the first time? Were you ever sca more...
Amazon Says: Was it fun to do a space walk? How squashed were you in the capsule on the way back? What were your feelings as you looked down on Earth for the first time? Were you ever scared? Where to next--the Moon, Mars, or beyond? Based on his historic mission to the International Space Station, Ask an Astronaut is Tim Peake's guide to life in space, and his answers to the thousands of questions he has been asked since his return to Earth. With explanations ranging from the mundane--how do you wash your clothes or go to the bathroom while in orbit?--to the profound--what's the point?--all written in Tim's characteristically warm style, Tim shares his thoughts on every aspect of space exploration. From training for the mission to launch, to his historic spacewalk, to re-entry, he reveals for readers of all ages the cutting-edge science behind his groundbreaking experiments, and the wonders of daily life on board the International Space Station. The public was invited to submit questions using the hashtag #askanastronaut, and a selection are answered by Tim in the book, accompanied with illustrations, diagrams, and never-before-seen photos. less...
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Amazon Says: The #1 international bestseller: An astronaut's tour of our planet from the heavens, featuring 150 mesmerizing photographs (with commentary) from the International Space St more...
Amazon Says: The #1 international bestseller: An astronaut's tour of our planet from the heavens, featuring 150 mesmerizing photographs (with commentary) from the International Space Station One of Space.com's Best Space Photography Books! During his six-month mission to the International Space Station, astronaut Tim Peake became the first British astronaut to complete a spacewalk--and, perhaps more astonishingly, the first to run an entire marathon in space. During his historic mission, he captured hundreds of dazzling photographs, the very best of which are collected here. Tim captures the majesty of the cosmos and of the planet we call home: breath-taking aerial photos of the world's cities illuminated at night, the natural beauty of the northern lights, and unforgettable views of oceans, mountains, and deserts. Tim's lively stories about life in space appear alongside these photographs, including the tale from which the title is taken: his famous wrong number dialed from space, when he accidentally called a stranger and asked: "Hello, is this planet Earth?" With this truly unique perspective on the incredible sights of our planet, Tim demonstrates that while in space, hundreds of miles above his friends and family, he never felt closer to home. less...
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Amazon Says: A NASA astronaut and distinguished space photographer who spent more than seven months off the planet presents his astonishing aerial images of Earth, along with captivating t more...
Amazon Says: A NASA astronaut and distinguished space photographer who spent more than seven months off the planet presents his astonishing aerial images of Earth, along with captivating tales of life at the edge of the atmosphere.   Astounding photographs of our world from outer space and edge-of-your-seat stories of survival in orbit--including close collegiality with Russian cosmonauts--make this a dazzling, personal account of living on the space shuttle. Few people get the experience of seeing the world from outer space--and no one has taken as many pictures of Earth from above as Terry Virts. Celebrated NASA astronaut, pilot of the space shuttle, crew member on Soyuz, and commander of the International Space Station, Virts has spent more than 200 days in space--and very few of those days went by without his reaching for his camera.  Now as never before, Virts shares the astronaut's view of the world, offering stunning aerial views of our planet and the vastness that surrounds it. The colors, shapes, details--and the stories they tell--are endlessly fascinating. Virts's book marries his exquisite photographs with glimpses of everyday life in orbit, including candid shots of fellow astronauts Scott Kelly and Samantha Cristoforetti. Amid this amazing show of Earth spectacles, he reflects on how the astronaut's point of view has shaped his life and spirit. Filled with magnificent photographs that will astonish and inspire, this book--and its intrepid author--becomes our guide to a new way of looking at the world. less...
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Amazon Says: In October 1968 Donn Eisele flew with fellow astronauts Walt Cunningham and Wally Schirra into Earth orbit in Apollo 7. The first manned mission in the Apollo program and the more...
Amazon Says: In October 1968 Donn Eisele flew with fellow astronauts Walt Cunningham and Wally Schirra into Earth orbit in Apollo 7. The first manned mission in the Apollo program and the first manned flight after a fire during a launch pad test killed three astronauts in early 1967, Apollo 7 helped restart NASA’s manned-spaceflight program. Known to many as a goofy, lighthearted prankster, Eisele worked his way from the U.S. Naval Academy to test pilot school and then into the select ranks of America’s prestigious astronaut corps. He was originally on the crew of Apollo 1 before being replaced due to injury. After that crew died in a horrific fire, Eisele was on the crew selected to return Americans to space. Despite the success of Apollo 7, Eisele never flew in space again, as divorce and a testy crew commander led to the three astronauts being labeled as troublemakers.   Unbeknownst to everyone, after his retirement as a technical assistant for manned spaceflight at NASA’s Langley Research Center in 1972, Eisele wrote in detail about his years in the air force and his time in the Apollo program. Long after his death, Francis French discovered Eisele’s unpublished memoir, and Susie Eisele Black (Donn’s widow) allowed French access to her late husband’s NASA files and personal effects. Readers can now experience an Apollo story they assumed would never be written as well as the story behind its discovery.      less...
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Amazon Says: In this revelatory and moving memoir, a former NASA astronaut and NFL wide receiver shares his personal journey from the gridiron to the stars, examining the intersecting r more...
Amazon Says: In this revelatory and moving memoir, a former NASA astronaut and NFL wide receiver shares his personal journey from the gridiron to the stars, examining the intersecting roles of community, perseverance and grace that align to create the opportunities for success.Leland Melvin is the only person in human history to catch a pass in the National Football League and in space. Though his path to the heavens was riddled with setbacks and injury, Leland persevered to reach the stars. While training with NASA, Melvin suffered a severe injury that left him deaf. Leland was relegated to earthbound assignments, but chose to remain and support his astronaut family. His loyalty paid off. Recovering partial hearing, he earned his eligibility for space travel. He served as mission specialist for two flights aboard the shuttle Atlantis, working on the International Space Station.In this uplifting memoir, the former NASA astronaut and professional athlete offers an examination of the intersecting role of community, determination, and grace that align to shape our opportunities and outcomes. Chasing Space is not the story of one man, but the story of many men, women, scientists, and mentors who helped him defy the odds and live out an uncommon destiny.As a chemist, athlete, engineer and space traveler, Leland’s life story is a study in the science of achievement. His personal insights illuminate how grit and grace, are the keys to overcoming adversity and rising to success. less...
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Amazon Says: Meet Leland Melvin—football star, NASA astronaut, and professional dream chaser. Bill Nye the Science Guy says: “Leland’s story moves fast; once you get started you’ll more...
Amazon Says: Meet Leland Melvin—football star, NASA astronaut, and professional dream chaser. Bill Nye the Science Guy says: “Leland’s story moves fast; once you get started you’ll want to join the chase.”In this inspiring memoir, adapted from the simultaneous version for adults, young readers will get to learn about Leland Melvin’s remarkable life story, from being drafted by the Detroit Lions to bravely orbiting our planet in the International Space Station to writing songs with will.i.am, working with Serena Williams, and starring in top-rated television shows like The Dog Whisperer, Top Chef, and Child Genius.With do-it-yourself experiments in the back of the book and sixteen pages of striking full-color photographs, this is the perfect book to inspire young readers.When the former Detroit Lion’s football career was cut short by an injury, Leland didn’t waste time mourning his broken dream. Instead, he found a new one—something that was completely out of this world.He joined NASA, braved an injury that nearly left him permanently deaf, and still managed to muster the courage and resolve to travel to space on the shuttle Atlantis to help build the International Space Station. Leland’s problem-solving methods and can-do attitude turned his impossible-seeming dream into reality.Leland’s story introduces readers to the fascinating creative and scientific challenges he had to deal with in space and will encourage the next generation of can-do scientists to dare to follow their dreams. less...
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Amazon Says: Twins Mark and Scott discover an abandoned Apollo command module and take off to rescue a stranded Russian cosmonaut in the second Astrotwins adventure from retired NASA astro more...
Amazon Says: Twins Mark and Scott discover an abandoned Apollo command module and take off to rescue a stranded Russian cosmonaut in the second Astrotwins adventure from retired NASA astronaut and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Mousetronaut, Mark Kelly. Mark and Scott Kelly, who are mostly known for getting into trouble, are finally back from their first space adventure. The twins have wanted to explore space ever since they were little and watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. And when they hear that a Russian cosmonaut is trapped inside the Salyut space station now orbiting 220 miles above the surface of the Earth, they wish they could find a way to help. While staying in the countryside at their grandfather’s house with their friend Jenny (aka Egg), the twins repurpose a NASA Titan 2 rocket ship being stored nearby. Complete with spacesuits and snacks, the twins take off on their rescue mission. Will they ever see their family or their grandfather’s backyard again? Written by a NASA astronaut with four space flights under his belt, the second exciting Astrotwins story includes extensive back matter on the space program with fantastic facts and details. less...
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Amazon Says: A team of middle schoolers prepares for blastoff in this adventure from the author of the New York Times bestselling Mousetronaut, based on the childhoods of real-life astrona more...
Amazon Says: A team of middle schoolers prepares for blastoff in this adventure from the author of the New York Times bestselling Mousetronaut, based on the childhoods of real-life astronauts Mark Kelly and his twin brother Scott. It’s a long, hot summer and Scott and Mark are in big trouble for taking apart (aka destroying) their dad’s calculator. As a punishment, they’re sent to their grandfather’s house, where there’s no TV and they have to do chores. And Grandpa is less tolerant of the twins’ constant bickering. “Why don’t you two work together on something constructive. What if you built a go-kart or something?” Grandpa suggests. But it’s not a go-kart the twins are interested in. They want to build a rocket. With the help of Jenny, nicknamed Egg, and a crew of can-do kids, they set out to build a real rocket that will blast off and orbit the Earth. The question soon becomes: which twin will get to be the astronaut? Written by a NASA astronaut with four space flights under his belt, this exciting story includes extensive back matter on the space program with fantastic facts and details. less...
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Amazon Says: How many kids aspire to become an astronaut one day? Wouldn’t it be great to float in space and do neat experiments? But before all the “fun” begins, it takes an incredib more...
Amazon Says: How many kids aspire to become an astronaut one day? Wouldn’t it be great to float in space and do neat experiments? But before all the “fun” begins, it takes an incredible amount of hard work to prepare oneself for the ride of a lifetime. Before they are sent to space, astronauts have to go through spacecraft systems training, wilderness training, underwater training, roller coaster–like flight training, and teamwork training, not to mention science, technology, medical, engineering, and math training. Training for flight also depends on being prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally, having the right attitude and learning to deal with problems calmly. Dr. Dave speaks from experience when he describes what it’s like to live underwater for weeks at a time, experience free-floating in micro gravity in the “Vomit Comet,” or catch and eat bugs during wilderness training. With its first-hand photos and amusing illustrations, Go for Lift Off is the go-to book for aspiring astronauts. less...
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Amazon Says: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to find yourself strapped to a giant rocket that’s about to go from zero to 17,500 miles per hour? Or to look back on E more...
Amazon Says: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to find yourself strapped to a giant rocket that’s about to go from zero to 17,500 miles per hour? Or to look back on Earth from outer space and see the surprisingly precise line between day and night? Or to stand in front of the Hubble Space Telescope, wondering if the emergency repair you’re about to make will inadvertently ruin humankind’s chance to unlock the universe’s secrets? Mike Massimino has been there, and in Spaceman he puts you inside the suit, with all the zip and buoyancy of life in microgravity. 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 and then MIT, only to flunk his first doctoral exam and be rejected three times by NASA before making it through the final round of astronaut selection. Taking us through the surreal wonder and beauty of his first spacewalk, the tragedy of losing friends in the Columbia shuttle accident, and the development of his enduring love for the Hubble Telescope—which he and his fellow astronauts were tasked with saving on his final mission—Massimino has written an ode to never giving up and the power of teamwork to make anything possible. Spaceman invites us into a rare, wonderful world where science meets the most thrilling adventure, revealing just what having “the right stuff” really means. less...
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The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield
Amazon Says: Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan's lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will enco more...
Amazon Says: Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan's lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will encourage readers to dream the impossible. Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he's a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem--at night, Chris doesn't feel so brave. He's afraid of the dark. But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest dark there is--and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company. less...
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Amazon Says: Of all the questions astronauts are asked by kids, the most frequent one is “How do you go to the toilet in space?” This book not only answers that question, but many other more...
Amazon Says: Of all the questions astronauts are asked by kids, the most frequent one is “How do you go to the toilet in space?” This book not only answers that question, but many others about the effect of zero gravity on the human body: How do you brush your hair in space? What happens when you sweat? What does food taste like? The best thing is that the answers are provided by Dr. Dave Williams, a NASA astronaut who speaks from first-hand experience. Written for kids ages 7 to 10, this book uses age-appropriate language to explain the different phenomena that astronauts encounter during a mission. The bright, colorful pages, short blocks of text accompanied by photos and humorous illustrations make this a very attractive choice for young readers. The opening message from Dr. Dave empowers kids to follow his example by believing in themselves and following their dreams. less...
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Amazon Says: Beloved American hero Buzz Aldrin reflects on the wisdom, guiding principles, and irreverent anecdotes he's gathered through his event-filled life—both in outer space and on more...
Amazon Says: Beloved American hero Buzz Aldrin reflects on the wisdom, guiding principles, and irreverent anecdotes he's gathered through his event-filled life—both in outer space and on earth—in this inspiring guide-to-life for the next generation.   Everywhere he goes, crowds gather to meet Buzz Aldrin. He is a world-class hero, a larger-than-life figurehead, best known of a generation of astronauts whose achievements surged in just a few years from first man in space to first men on the moon. Now he pauses to reflect and share what he has learned, from the vantage point not only of outer space but also of time: still a non-stop traveler and impassioned advocate for space exploration, Aldrin will be 86 in 2016.   No Dream Is Too High whittles down Buzz Aldrin's event-filled life into a short list of principles he values, each illustrated by fascinating anecdotes and memories, such as: ·      Second comes right after first. NASA protocol should have meant he was first on the moon, but rules changed just before the mission. How he learned to be proud of being the second man on the moon. ·      Look for opportunities, not obstacles. Buzz was rejected the first time he applied to be an astronaut. Failure is an opportunity to learn to do better. ·      Always maintain your spirit of adventure. For his 80th birthday, Buzz went diving in the Galapagos and hitched a ride on a whale shark. He stays fit, energetic, and fascinated with life.   No Dream Is Too High is a beautiful memento, a thought-provoking set of ideas, and a new opportunity for Buzz Aldrin to connect with the masses of people who recognize his unique place in human history. less...
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