As mentioned in the preface but bears repeating, this volume owes a great deal of gratitude to the Johnson Space Center Oral History Project, without which it would not exist.
In addition, we are grateful to the University of Nebraska Press, and in particular to senior editor Rob Taylor, for their dedication to chronicling the history of space exploration through their publication of the Outward Odyssey series and specifically through their help and support with this volume. In addition, the authors wish to express their substantial thanks to Outward Odyssey series editor Colin Burgess, who has been a loyal shepherd, a wise counsel, and a good friend during the process.
It was an incredible honor to have astronaut Bob Crippen agree to write the foreword for this volume. For David, the journey to writing this book begins in a very real way in front of a television set in 1981 watching Bob Crippen and John Young make history, and to conclude that journey with Crippen being a part of this project is a surreal bookend to the experience.
Astronaut (and Homesteading Space coauthor) Owen Garriott provided much assistance early in the project, making contacts and helping to get things moving, and that assistance is much appreciated. In addition, astronaut Bo Bobko was also involved in the early stages of the book and provided insight into its direction and helped open some doors. Astronauts Hank Hartsfield and Joe Kerwin and nasa legends Chris Kraft and George Mueller also provided us with material for the book.
Phillip Fox, Jon Meek, Jordan Walker, Rebecca Freeman, Lauren McPherson, and Suzanne Haggerty read early portions of this book in progress and provided feedback.
On a personal note, the authors wish to acknowledge Finn and Caden Smith, ages seven and five at the time the original manuscript was finished, for their sacrifices during deadline work on this book.
In addition, David would like to thank the following:
Heather, who for years has made my writing better and without whom I could not have written this book.
As per last time, my father, Bill Hitt, for engendering my interest in spaceflight that set me on the path to, among other things, writing this book. Jim Abbott, for giving me my first break and being a brilliant editor and a wonderful mentor and for shaping the man I am today. Holly Snow, for opening the door for my new involvement with nasa.
Owen Garriott and Joe Kerwin, for sponsoring me through Olympus and for sharing their stories, their insight, their knowledge, their expertise, and their friendship.
All of those who traveled with me on multiple road trips to Kennedy Space Center, which occasionally involved successfully watching shuttle launches.
Heather would like also to thank the following:
David, for offering me the opportunity to coauthor a book and for shepherding me through the process.
Mrs. Hughes, for seeing potential in the writing skills of a young, tenth – grade Heather and inviting her to write for the school yearbook staff, sparking an interest in writing and communication that led me down this career path. Mr. Sandy Barnard, for believing that I could write and write well whatever I put my pen to.
The Times-Mail in Lawrence County, Indiana, the proud home to three astronauts, including Charlie Walker, who is quoted extensively in this book, for giving me my first professional writing job and an occasional space-related assignment that made a big difference in me ending up writing at NASA and thus ending up writing this book. I was blessed to work in a community that adores its hometown astronauts and that still gets excited about spaceflight.
Starbucks locations in Huntsville, Alabama, and Nashville, Tennessee, and the Flint River Coffee Company in Huntsville, Alabama, for hospitality and tasty coffee. Portions of this book were written and edited there.
And most important, God my Father. Any writing talent that I possess is a gift from You, and You have shepherded my life and career. May You get any and all glory for this volume.
Bold They Rise