The story of space travel, from the V-2 of World War II to the next wave of Martian rovers.
In the bells-and-whistles department, this survey comes with a free app that allows readers with camera-equipped phones or tablets to see blurry historical video clips and crudely rendered hovering VR images of a moon lander and the International Space Station. Less gimmicky but more useful for conveying a sense of the space program’s scope and techno-wizardry, sheaves of photos, graphic images, labeled cutaway views, and flight diagrams present the epic tale in a primarily visual way, with fact boxes and blocks of explanatory text wedged in around the pictures to create a narrative flow and fill in further incidents and details. Hubbard’s highlights-reel account spares barely a nod for Apollo missions before and after the first moon landing and relegates the human element largely to a handful of astronauts, Wernher von Braun, and Sergei Korolev. But he does give the U.S. and Soviet space efforts equal time in the early going, describes catastrophes as well as “firsts” in both programs, and he brings the tale up to NASA’s upcoming Space Launch System, the currently en route Parker Solar Probe, and no fewer than four Mars probes various countries plan to launch in 2020.
Conventional and a bit sketchy in spots but a decent overview with some techno-tricks for young digerati. (index) (Nonfiction/novelty. 10-13)