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2021 Locus Award Winner. Highly Recommended. By Piers Bizony. Art by Robert McCall, Ron Miller, Robert Watts, Paul Calle, David Hardy et al. From space suits to capsules, from landing modules to the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, and more recent concepts for space planes, 60 years of American space exploration in an unprecedented fashion. All the landmark early missions are represented in detail — Gemini, Mercury, Apollo — as are post-Space Race accomplishments, like the mission to Mars and other deep-space explorations. Motorbooks, 2020.

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From space suits to capsules, from landing modules to the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, and more recent concepts for space planes, 60 years of American space exploration in an unprecedented fashion. All the landmark early missions are represented in detail — Gemini, Mercury, Apollo — as are post-Space Race accomplishments, like the mission to Mars and other deep-space explorations.
Ultra-rare artworks illustrate a unique history of NASA hardware and missions from 1958 to today, giving readers an unprecedented look at how spacecraft, equipment, and missions evolved — and how they might have evolved. Formed in 1958, NASA has long maintained a department of visual artists to depict the concepts and technologies created in humankind’s quest to explore the final frontier. Culled from a carefully chosen reserve of approximately 3,000 files deep in the NASA archives, the 200 artworks presented in this large-format edition provide a glimpse of NASA history like no other.

The insightful text relates the wonderful stories associated with the art. For instance, the incredibly rare early Apollo illustrations show how Apollo might have looked if the landing module had never been developed. Black-and-white Gemini drawings illustrate how the massive NASA art department did its stuff with ink pen and rubdown Letraset textures. Cross-sections of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project docking adapter reveal Russian sensitivity about US “male” probes “penetrating” their spacecraft, thus the androgynous “adapter” now used universally in space.

International Space Station cutaways show how huge the original plan was, but also what was retained.

Every picture in The Art of NASA tells a special story. This collection of the rarest of the rare is not only a unique view of NASA history, it’s a fascinating look at the art of illustration, the development of now-familiar technologies, and a glimpse of what the space program might have looked like.

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