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On the occasion of the 50-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing on 20th July 1969, the TASCHEN publisher issues a new XL illustrated book with photos from over 60 years from NASA Archives including photos never shown before. We got the opportunity to have a good read in this huge illustrated book with more than 400 photos, concepts and original documents.
When you hold the illustrated book in your own hands, you clearly know why it’s an XL illustrated book. With more den 468 pages and a size of 33x33cm the hardcover book has a significant weight (about 5 kg), which is befitting the historical content inside. The book illuminates NASA spaceflight history from its beginning with the historic Bell X-1 flight of Chuck Yeager to break the sonic barrier in 1947, till the most recent robotic travels to the Red Planet and far beyond to the outer solar system.
The publisher tasked renowned technical journalist Piers Bizony as editor, and Andrew Chaikin, well known for his bestseller “A Man on the Moon” and Dr. Roger Launius, until 2002 chief NASA historian and now chief curator of the space department of the Washington Air and Space Museum, as co-authors.
Alongside original quotes of astronauts, spaceflight engineers, NASA administrators and politicians complement the content. For example, the famous talk of US president John F. Kennedy is completely imprinted as well as the “Pale Blue Dot” text of astronomer Carl Sagan, and mostly unknown texts like the prepared statement of US president Nixon in case of an Apollo 11 failure or how flight controller Steve Bales came to the judgment that the famous alarm “1202” on Apollo 11 shortly before landing on the Moon can be ignored.
Many of us know the photos, videos and quotes from the Apollo missions by heart, despite my generation was not born yet at the time of the Moon landings. Hence, the question arises, if this book is worth buying, despite its proud prize of 100.- EUR. I can answer this with a clear Yes. The opulent book is produced expensively, the photos are visually more than intriguing and while browsing through the book you feel immediately flash -back to the beginning of spaceflight. It’s almost like feeling the Apollo moment again. The book is not only simple gorgeous its more than that, breathtaking, stunning and simple wow.
Mainly because the book covers the development of NASA from the beginning until nowadays. Early spaceflight history incl. the Apollo mission are covered within 2 chapters. The post-Apollo era with Apollo-Soyuz, Skylab and Space Shuttle take one chapter and the robotic exploration of our solar system including major Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto & beyond missions are also covered in one chapter.
The book, which is released in English, with a German accompanying booklet, is not covering the complete NASA history, but is more like a subjective compilation of photos and stories including the major highlights and disasters of US spaceflight. You won’t find any critical words as the book wants to depict a positive picture of NASA spaceflight. Achievements of other spaceflight agencies are very sparsely covered. However, in my opinion the TASCHEN publisher released a successful illustrated book, mainly for spaceflight enthusiasts and motivates us to carry forward human and robotic exploration of our solar system.
The illustrated book was provided by the TASCHEN publishers and has assigned a special place in our spacesuit laboratory.
This article is available in: German
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