This official NASA history document - converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction - is an engaging account of the American manned space program from Mercury through the Space Shuttle as seen from the perspective of the NASA Johnson Space Center (formerly known as the Manned Spacecraft Center) in Houston, Texas.
The foreword by Deke Slayton states: "This history of Johnson Space Center (JSC) is a detailed chronicle of the U.S. space program with emphasis on humans in space and on the ground. It realistically balances the role of the highly visible astronaut with the mammoth supporting team who provide the nuts, bolts, and gas to keep the train on the track. It recognizes the early political and technical geniuses who had the vision and ability to create NASA and JSC and keep them expanding at a rapid pace. People like Jim Webb, who was unsurpassed in his ability to create political support and financing, and Bob Gilruth, his counterpart at the technical and operational level, were the real gems in the right place at the right time. They were the true progenitors of manned spaceflight. This history progresses from when JSC was the Space Task Group, a small cadre of about 300 talented and dedicated ex-NACA and Canadian personnel, to the peak of the Apollo era, when JSC—then called the Manned Spacecraft Center—had thousands of personnel. Yet despite its explosive growth, it never lost its human touch or the "can-do" attitude of its roots."
From the preface: "The history of the Johnson Space Center focuses on an unusual slice of time and human affairs. It has been a time of great changes, the full impact of which are not yet evident. American history and that of humankind has been irrevocably affected by spaceflight. Space has generated new technology, new materials, and a new process of thought about the Earth and the human potential. This book has a beginning and an end, but the story continues, perhaps through all time. Suddenly, a new tomorrow has come into being. In 1902 H.G. Wells observed that the past, "all that has been and is, is but the twilight of the dawn." Today, because of the American space program, "the world is heavy with the promise of greater things." Indeed, perhaps that day predicted by H.G. Wells has come to be: "when beings, beings who are now latent in our thoughts and hidden in our loins, shall stand upon the Earth as one stands upon a footstool, and shall laugh and reach out their hands amidst the stars."
Contents include: * October 1957 * The Commitment to Space * Houston - Texas - U.S.A * Human Dimensions * Gemini: On Managing Spaceflight * The NASA Family * Precious Human Cargo * A Contractual Relationship * The Flight of Apollo * "After Apollo, What Next?" * Skylab to Shuttle * Lead Center * Space Business and JSC * Aspects of Shuttle Development * The Shuttle at Work * New Initiatives * Space Station Earth