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Aeronautics & Astronautics

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  1. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    7.2 hrs • 1/12/2016 • Unabridged

    The true story of how an unlikely leader helped inspire a team of rocket scientists to achieve the near impossible: landing a two-thousand pound rover on Mars. Few organizations solve as many impossible problems as NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and nobody knows more about leading rocket scientists to unlikely breakthroughs than Adam Steltzner. As the phase lead and development manager for EDL (entry, descent and landing) of the Curiosity rover to Mars, Steltzner spearheaded the creation of one of engineering’s wackiest kluges—the sky crane—that allowed the heaviest rover in the history of space exploration to land on Mars unscathed. Steltzner is no ordinary engineer. His path to leadership was about as unlikely as they come. A child of beatnik parents, he was a daredevil and avid mountain biker, breaking thirty-two bones before squeaking through high school. He blew off college in favor of work at a health food store and playing bass in a band. After an interest in the movement of the stars led him to enroll part time at community college, Steltzner discovered an astonishing gift for math and physics. Within years he got his PhD and ensconced himself within the offbeat Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA’s decidedly unbureaucratic cousin, where success in a mission is the only metric that matters. The Right Kind of Crazy is the story of the teamwork, drama, and extraordinary feats of innovation at the Jet Propulsion Lab, that culminated in landing the rover Curiosity on Mars in 2012. It also weaves Steltzner’s professional life—centering on the ten years he and his team spent planning and then executing the landing of the rover—with his unlikely journey from academic underachiever to rocket scientist. Along the way, readers will learn about what makes effective teams, how to stay on task for the long haul, and strategies for solving incredibly complex problems. The Right Kind of Crazy is a book for anyone striving for excellence.

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    The Right Kind of Crazy

    7.2 hrs • 1/12/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 23.0 hrs • 11/10/2015 • Unabridged

    On the night of July 20, 1969, our world changed forever when two Americans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, walked on the moon. Now the greatest event of the twentieth century is magnificently retold through the eyes and ears of the people who were there. Based on in-depth interviews with twenty-three of the twenty-four moon voyagers, as well as those who struggled to get the program moving, science journalist Andrew Chaikin’s A Man on the Moon conveys every aspect of the missions with breathtaking immediacy, from the rush of liftoff, to the heart-stopping lunar touchdown, to the final hurdle of reentry. This acclaimed portrait of heroism and ingenuity captures a watershed moment in human history. The astronauts themselves have called Chaikin’s A Man on the Moon the definitive account of their missions.

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    A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin, Tom Hanks

    A Man on the Moon

    23.0 hrs • 11/10/15 • Unabridged
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  3. 2.2 hrs • 7/7/2015 • Unabridged

    Award-winning journalist Stephen Petranek says humans will live on Mars by 2034. Now he makes the case that living on Mars is not just plausible, but inevitable. It sounds like science fiction, but Stephen Petranek considers it fact: within twenty years, humans will live on Mars. We’ll need to. In this sweeping, provocative book that mixes business, science, and human reporting, Petranek makes the case that living on Mars is an essential back-up plan for humanity and explains in fascinating detail just how it will happen. The race is on. Private companies, driven by iconoclastic entrepreneurs, such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Paul Allen, and Sir Richard Branson; Dutch reality show and space mission Mars One; NASA; and the Chinese government are among the many groups competing to plant the first stake on Mars and open the door for human habitation. Why go to Mars? Life on Mars has potential life-saving possibilities for everyone on earth. Depleting water supplies, overwhelming climate change, and a host of other disasters—from terrorist attacks to meteor strikes—all loom large. We must become a space-faring species to survive. We have the technology not only to get humans to Mars, but to convert Mars into another habitable planet. It will likely take three hundred years to “terraform” Mars, as the jargon goes, but we can turn it into a veritable second Garden of Eden. And we can live there, in specially designed habitations, within the next twenty years. In this exciting chronicle, Petranek introduces the circus of lively characters all engaged in a dramatic effort to be the first to settle the Red Planet. How We’ll Live on Mars brings firsthand reporting, interviews with key participants, and extensive research to bear on the question of how we can expect to see life on Mars within the next twenty years.

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    How We’ll Live on Mars

    2.2 hrs • 7/7/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 0 reviews 0 5 4.6 4 out of 5 stars 4.6/5
    10.0 hrs • 5/5/2015 • Unabridged

    David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, tells the dramatic story-behind-the-story of Wilbur and Orville Wright—the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly. On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history—but it would take the world some time to believe what had happened. The age of flight had begun with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot. Who were these men, and how was it that they achieved what they did? Far more than a couple of unschooled Dayton bicycle mechanics who happened to hit on success, they were men of exceptional courage, determination, far-ranging intellectual interests, and ceaseless curiosity, much of which they attributed to their upbringing. The house they lived in had no electricity or indoor plumbing, but there were books aplenty, supplied mainly by their preacher father, and they never stopped reading. When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius, and Orville had mechanical ingenuity few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high-school education, little money, and no contacts in high places never stopped them in their mission to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off in one of their contrivances, they risked being killed. In this thrilling book, master historian David McCullough draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including private diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence, to tell the human side of the Wright Brothers’ story, including the little-known contributions of their sister Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them.

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    The Wright Brothers

    10.0 hrs • 5/5/15 • Unabridged
    0 reviews 0 5 4.6 4 out of 5 stars 4.6/5
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  5. 1 reviews 0 5 4.7 4 out of 5 stars 4.7/5 (1)
    7.7 hrs • 10/21/2014 • Unabridged

    In the course of our enduring quest for knowledge about ourselves and our universe, we haven’t found answers to one of our most fundamental questions: Does life exist anywhere else in the universe? Ten years and billions of dollars in the making, the Mars rover Curiosity is poised to answer this all-important question. Here, Rob Manning, the project’s chief engineer, tells of bringing the groundbreaking spacecraft to life. Manning and his team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, tasked with designing a lander many times larger and more complex than any before, faced technical setbacks, fights over inadequate resources, and the challenges of leading an army of brilliant, passionate, and often frustrated experts. Manning’s fascinating personal account—which includes information from his exclusive interviews with leading Curiosity scientists—is packed with tales of revolutionary feats of science, technology, and engineering. Listeners experience firsthand the disappointment at encountering persistent technical problems, the agony of near defeat, the sense of victory at finding innovative solutions to these problems, the sheer terror of staking careers and reputations on a lander that couldn’t be tested on Earth, and the rush of triumph at its successful touchdown on Mars on August 5, 2012. This is the story of persistence, dedication, and unrelenting curiosity.

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    Mars Rover Curiosity by Rob Manning, William L. Simon

    Mars Rover Curiosity

    7.7 hrs • 10/21/14 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4.7 4 out of 5 stars 4.7/5 (1)
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  6. 3.5 hrs • 8/6/2013 • Unabridged

    From the competitive spirit ignited by Sputnik to the tragedies and triumphs of the Apollo missions, from the technological leap forward created by the Space Shuttle to the global cooperation forged by the International Space Station and beyond, NPR examines the inspirational story of modern space exploration and the extraordinary individuals who made it possible. Featuring in-depth profiles of landmark missions, along with interviews and commentary from voices that have lived the dream, including astronauts John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Frank Borman, Bernard Harris, Sallie Ride, and many more.

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  7. 6.0 hrs • 12/14/2009 • Unabridged

    On January 15, 2009, a US Airways Airbus A320 had just taken off from LaGuardia Airport in New York when a flock of Canada Geese collided with it, destroying both of its engines. Over the next three minutes, the plane’s pilot, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, managed to glide it to a safe landing in the Hudson River. It was an instant media sensation—the “Miracle on the Hudson”—and Captain Sully was the hero. But how much of the success of this dramatic landing can actually be credited to the genius of the pilot? To what extent is the “miracle” on the Hudson the result of extraordinary—but not widely known, and in some cases quite controversial—advances in aviation and computer technology over the past twenty years? In Fly by Wire, journalist William Langewiesche takes us on a strange and unexpected journey into the fascinating world of advanced aviation. From the testing laboratories where engineers struggle to build a jet engine that can systematically resist bird attacks, through the creation of the A320 in France, to the political and social forces that have sought to minimize the impact of the revolutionary fly-by-wire technology, William Langewiesche assembles the untold stories necessary to truly understand the “miracle” on the Hudson and makes us question our assumptions about human beings in modern aviation.

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    Fly by Wire

    6.0 hrs • 12/14/09 • Unabridged
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  8. 10.9 hrs • 10/2/2007 • Unabridged

    Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael D’Antonio captures the wackiness of the first year of the space race as the Americans scrambled desperately to match the Soviets and President Eisenhower intervened to guarantee that the space program would not be run by the military. On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite into orbit around the earth. Little more than a month later, the Soviets launched Sputnik II. News of Sputnik created panic in Washington, DC, and throughout the United States. Within days, the US military began a madcap race to space full of crashes, skullduggery, and backstabbing until Eisenhower’s secret civilian program surpassed the Soviets by putting the first American—a hero monkey named Gordo—into orbit. D’Antonio draws on archives, film footage, and interviews with many of the scientists, reporters, and others who were involved in the first year of the space race. He recounts the early days of the space race with all the zaniness and urgency of the time.

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    A Ball, a Dog, and a Monkey

    10.9 hrs • 10/2/07 • Unabridged
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  9. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    11.6 hrs • 9/18/2007 • Unabridged

    On October 4, 1957, a time of Cold War paranoia, the Soviet Union secretly launched the Earth’s first artificial moon. No bigger than a basketball, the tiny satellite was powered by a car battery. Yet, for all its simplicity, Sputnik stunned the world. Based on extensive research in the US and newly opened archives in the former USSR, Red Moon Rising tells the story of five extraordinary months in the history of technology and the rivalry between two superpowers. It takes us inside the Kremlin and introduces the Soviet engineer Korolev, the charismatic, politically-minded visionary who motivated Khruschev to support what others dismissed as a ridiculous program. Korolev is virtually unknown to most Americans, yet it is because of him that NASA exists, that college loan programs were started in the US, and that Kennedy and Johnson became presidents. Character driven, suspenseful, and dramatic, Red Moon Rising unveils the politics, people, science, and mindset behind a critical and transformative world event.

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    Red Moon Rising

    11.6 hrs • 9/18/07 • Unabridged
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  10. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    10.9 hrs • 3/6/2007 • Unabridged

    An incredible true-life adventure set on the most dangerous frontier of all—outer space. For a special breed of individual, the call of space is worth the risk it entails: men such as U.S. astronauts Donald Pettit and Kenneth Bowersox, and Russian flight engineer Nikolai Budarin, who in November 2002 left on what was to be a routine fourteen-week mission maintaining the International Space Station. But then, on February 1, 2003, the Columbia exploded beneath them. With the launch program suspended indefinitely, these astronauts had suddenly lost their ride home. Too Far From Home chronicles the efforts of the beleaguered Mission Controls in Houston and Moscow as they work frantically against the clock to bring their men safely back to Earth. Chris Jones writes beautifully of the majesty and mystique of space travel, while reminding us all how perilous it is to soar beyond the sky.

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    Too Far From Home

    10.9 hrs • 3/6/07 • Unabridged
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  11. 9.1 hrs • 10/18/2005 • Abridged

    On July 20, 1969, the world stood still to watch 38-year-old American astronaut Neil A. Armstrong become the first person ever to step on the surface of another heavenly body. Perhaps no words in human history became better known than those few he uttered at that historic moment. Upon his return to earth, Armstrong was honored and celebrated for his monumental achievement. He was also -- as James R. Hansen reveals in this fascinating and important biography -- misunderstood. Armstrong's accomplishments as engineer, test pilot, and astronaut have long been a matter of record, but Hansen's unprecedented access to private documents and unpublished sources yield this first in-depth analysis of an elusive American celebrity still renowned the world over. In a penetrating exploration of American hero worship, Hansen addresses the complex legacy of the First Man, as an astronaut and as an individual. In First Man, the personal, technological, epic, and iconic blend to form this portrait of a great but reluctant hero who will forever be known as history's most famous space traveler.

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    First Man

    9.1 hrs • 10/18/05 • Abridged
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  12. 15.6 hrs • 10/1/2003 • Unabridged

    During the early and most dangerous years of the cold war, a handful of Americans, led by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, revolutionized spying and warfare. In great secrecy and beyond the prying eyes of Congress and the press, they built exotic new machines that opened up the Soviet Union to surveillance and protected the United States from surprise nuclear attack. Secret Empire is the dramatic story of these men and their inventions, told in full for the first time.

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    Secret Empire

    15.6 hrs • 10/1/03 • Unabridged
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  13. 6.2 hrs • 4/1/2003 • Abridged

    "For some years I have been afflicted with the belief that flight is possible to man. My disease has increased in severity and I feel that it will soon cost me an increased amount of money if not my life." So wrote a quiet young Ohioan in 1900, one in an ancient line of men who had wanted to fly -- wanted it passionately, fecklessly, hopelessly. But at the turn of the twentieth century, Wilbur Wright and a scattered handful of other adventurers conceived a conviction that the dream lay at last within reach, and in a headlong race across ten years and two continents, they competed to conquer the air. James Tobin, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography, has at last given this inspiring story its definitive telling. For years Wright and his younger brother, Orville, experimented in utter obscurity. Meanwhile, the world watched as the imperious Samuel Langley, armed with a rich contract from the U.S. War Department and all the resources of the Smithsonian Institution, sought to create the first manned flying machine. While Langley became obsessed with flight as a problem of power, the Wrights grappled with it as a problem of balance. Thus their machines took two very different paths -- one toward oblivion, the other toward the heavens. To Conquer the Air is a hero's tale of overcoming obstacles within and without. It is the story of mankind's most wondrous technological achievement; and it is an account of the mystery of creativity and character. Years later, Orville Wright would remark to Charles Lindbergh: "No one quite understands the spirit and conditions of those times." In the centennial year of human flight, To Conquer the Air is itself a heroic achievement.

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    To Conquer the Air

    6.2 hrs • 4/1/03 • Abridged
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