“THIS BOOK SHOULD GIVE MICHENER FANS
EXACTLY WHAT THEY EXPECT.”
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
“A NOVEL OF VERY HIGH ADVENTURE ...
A sympathetic, historically sound treatment
of an important human endeavor that some day could be
the stuff of myth, told here with gripping effect ... vivid scenes.
Mr. Michener leaves us with the hope
that the dream of exploring space will not die.” NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
“Michener has laid bare, with a newspaper reporter’s
pitiless instinct for the truth, the central issue of
modern American society. Better than most writers,
he gives his readers an understanding of the men and women
involved in the mighty saga of space.
By using the space program as a cutting edge,
Michener has shown a cross section of America today-
all the bright promise of our glittering technology,
all the choices we face today in our
continual striving to build a better tomorrow”
“A MASTER STORYTELLER ...
Mr. Michener, by any standards, is a phenomenon.
SPACE is one of his best books.
Here, as many times before, he teaches us
and compels us to think largely about large things.”
WALL STREET JOURNAL
“Michener blends his fictional
space story with real people and events.
And the result is a fascinating look at space exploration.
There’s a lot of information here about space
and the U.S. space program as well as a
colorful cast of characters.”
“AN EXPANSIVE PAGEANT OF THE
AMERICAN SPACE PROGRAM ...
Space skillfully blends fiction and non-fiction.
It evinces a love of the land and a reverence for nature.
It exudes a kind of upbeat humanism.
The book deserves the wide audience it will
almost certainly have. It tells a good story.
And better, it does not shy away from the
technical and the scientific.
SPACE exalts the rigorous Michener’s
application of mind as the natural accessory of dream.”
“MICHENER HAS BECOME
AN INSTITUTION IN AMERICA,
ranking somewhere between Disneyland
and the Library of Congress. You learn a lot from him.”
CHICAGO TRIBUNE BOOK WORLD
“THE WORLD’S BEST
RESEARCHER OF NOVELS.
Space certainly has a remarkable theme.
The struggle between “immaculate science” and the
vulgarities of politics is very well portrayed.
And Mr. Michener is eloquent in depicting the actual
flights into space, as well as the blazing, apocalyptic
reentry of the shuttle into earth’s atmosphere:”
NEW YORK TIMES
“THE COSMIC APPROACH TO FICTION ...
SPACE is everything that Michener fans
have come to expect. Without question, the space program’s
dramatic dimensions provide the stuff of great fiction.”
“A DIFFICULT BOOK TO PUT DOWN ...
And this subject is one which is hardly stale for,
as we all know; we are still on the threshold;
the real poetry of space travel has yet to begin!”
BALTIMORE EVENING SUN
“SWEEPING AND MIND-ENHANCING ...
Michener grapples with the ultimate mystery-
that of the universe, what lies beyond our galaxy
and the billion galaxies beyond that.
This is not only Michener’s most ambitious novel:
it is also his most challenging and his most compelling.
JOHN BAR.KHAM REVIEWS Fawcett Crest Books By James A. Michener: ? ? ? THE BRIDGES AT TOKO-RI CARAVANS CENTENNIAL CHESAPEAKE THE COVENANT THE DRIFTERS THE FIRES OF SPRING HAWAII RETURN TO PARADISE SAYONARA THE SOURCE TALES OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC ? SPACE ? ? James A. Michener ? ? FAWCETT CREST - NEW YORK A Fawcett Crest Book Published by Ballantine Books ? Copyright ? 1982 by James A. Michener ? All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. ? Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 82-40127 ? ISBN 0-449-20379-4 ? This edition published by arrangement with Random House, Inc.
Manufactured in the United States of America
First International Edition: August 1983
First U.S. Edition: November 1983
ON 4 July 1976 I was invited by Dr. Donald P. Hearth of the National Aeronautics and SpaceAdministration to participate in a round-table discussion of the meaning of America’s Vikinglanding on Mars, and with that heady introduction to the greatest minds of the space age Ibegan my serious study.
In the spring of 1979 I was appointed to the NASA Advisory Council, which advises NASA, andthere I met repeatedly with men who conducted our space effort, and visited several times thegreat NASA bases at which the work was done. I was allowed to participate in the full life ofthe agency. I did this uninterruptedly for four years.
Lacking specialized training in science, I was disadvantaged, but my long experience withmathematics and astronomy repaired some of the deficiency, and my work with various aspects ofour program repaired other gaps. Most of all, I talked incessantly with experts, visitedlaboratories, and studied procedures.
My acquaintance with NASA engineers and scientists was extensive, and to them I owe a greatdebt, especially those at Langley, Wallops, Ames, Houston, Huntsville, Goddard and the JetPropulsion Laboratory.
My acquaintance with astronauts was more spotty, for I [ii] met only those who bumped into meas I went about my other duties. Deke Slayton was most helpful. John Young was an inspiration.Donn Eisele, a neighbor, gave me many insights. Because the Shuttle dominated the horizon inthe years of my incumbency, I knew its pilots: Robert Crippen, Joe Engle, Dick Truly. Ed Gibsonwas extremely helpful in my study of the Sun, about which he has written brilliantly. JoeKerwin, a medical astronaut with weeks in orbit, was unusually helpful on four differentoccasions. I had brief but rewarding interviews with Mike Collins, a graceful writer aboutspace, and the two elegant women astronauts Judith Resnick and Anna Fisher.
At headquarters I was accorded courtesies by Dr. Robert Frosch, the administrator, and by Dr.Alan Lovelace, his assistant. They made available the consultative services of General HarrisHull, Dr. John Naugle, NASA’s chief scientist, Nat Cohen, the executive secretary of ourcouncil, and Jane Scott, who supervised my movements. Before his untimely death in theHimalayas, Tim Mutch met with me many times to discuss scientific and managerial points.
Certain experts were recommended to me as unusually informed and helpful in their fields, andto these I am indebted:
Battle of Leyte Gulf: Admiral Felix Stump, who commanded one of the baby flattop squadrons inthat historic naval engagement, and Bill Lederer, his witty assistant.
Peenemünde: Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger and Karl Heimburg, both of whom made the hegira fromPeenemünde to El Paso to Huntsville.
Patuxent River: Marshall Beebe, USN, who explained the area in 1952. Admiral John Wissler, whoshowed me around in 1981.
Operation of a Large NASA Base: The following were especially instructive during my extendedstay at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville: Dr. William Lucas, James E. Kingsbury,Thomas Lee, Robert Lindstrom, John Potate, Harry Watters, Joe Jones.
Mission Control Operations: Dr. Chris Kraft, the distinguished expert who handled the majorsequence of flights; [iii] Gene Krantz, in charge of present flights, who allowed me to sit infor an entire day to watch how it was done.
Astronomy: Dr. George Field, Dr. A. G. W. Cameron, both of Harvard; Dr. David L. Crawford, KittPeak; Dr. Jacques Beckers of the Multiple Mirror Telescope Observatory, Tucson; Dr. AnthonyJenzano, University of North Carolina.
: Dean Cubley of Houston.Communications
Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous: Dr. John C. Houbolt of Langley, who led the fight for this mode.
Supersonic Flight: John V. Becker of Langley, who pioneered this field.
Wind Tunnels: William P. Henderson of Langley, who twice demonstrated his 16-foot tunnel.
One-Sixth Gravity: Donald E. Hewes of Langley, who invented the device for creating anapproximation of Moon gravity on Earth.
Interplanetary Navigation: Frank Hughes, Richard Parten, Duane Mosel, all of Houston. FrankJordan of JPL. Dr. Philip Felleman of MIT was especially instructive.
Image Processing: Torrance Johnson of JPL.
Space Telescope: Dr. C. R. O’Dell, of the University of Chicago and Huntsville.
Earth Handling of Messages from Space: William Koselka and Chuck Koscieliski of the GoldstoneStation in California; at the NASA stations in Australia, Lewis Wainright, Thomas Reid andKevin Westbrook were helpful, and Bill Wood in Canberra provided living quarters.
Interplanetary Exploration: Charlie Hall and C. A. Syvertson, both of Ames, who wereresponsible for developing and supervising several pioneer missions to Jupiter and Saturn.
Life on Other Planets: Dr. Carl Sagan of Cornell, who has written brilliantly on this arcanesubject.
I am particularly indebted to the following distinguished scholars and administrators whoagreed to read portions of the manuscript to help me weed out error. They gave help [iv] beyondthe call of duty or friendship. Such errors as remain are my fault.
Korea Air Battles and Patuxent River Test-Piloting: Captain Jerry O’Rourke, USN , who taughtme dive-bombing in 1953 for my early novel The Bridges at Toko-Ri and who conducted a seminar
for me in 1981 regarding Patuxent River and test pilots.
Wallops Island and Atmospheric Research: Abe Spinak, long an official on the island and a
formidable research man.
Photo Imaging on the Mars and Saturn Expeditions: Dr. Bradford A. Smith, University of Arizona,
who served as Imaging Team Leader during the Voyager missions to Jupiter and Saturn.
: Dr. Jack Eddy, High Altitude Observatory, one of our leading authorities on solarSolar Flares
Circadian Rhythms: Dr. Richard J. Wurtman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Technical Communications between Flight Control at Houston and the Astronauts of Gemini 13 and
: Joe Kerwin, who served as CapCom during the fateful aborted flight of Apollo 13.Apollo 18
Medical Data Regarding Apollo 18: Joe Kerwin, astronaut and medical doctor.
Movement of Earth and Sun: Dr. A. G. W. Cameron, Harvard University, kindly read the brief butimportant section on multiple movements.
The Entire Manuscript: John Naugle, who lived at the heart of NASA operations for many yearsand who first suggested that I try to write this book. He taught me a great deal.
I shall always remember with affection and envy those brilliant men who served on the AdvisoryCouncil or who participated in our various seminars, and who gave me so much help inunderstanding the things they were talking about: Freeman Dyson of Princeton, Arthur Kantrowitzof Dartmouth College, John Firor of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Daniel Finkof General Electric, George [v] Field and A. G. W. Cameron of Harvard, who helped especially inadvanced astronomy, and the three aeronautical experts who proved instructive in this fieldwhich concerns me deeply: Robert Johnson of Douglas Aircraft, Holden Withington of Boeing, andeverybody’s friend and counselor, Willis Hawkins of Lockheed. My special appreciation toWilliam Nierenberg, Director of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, who chaired our group. Inever had an abler group of colleagues.
JAMES A. MICHENER
St. Michaels, Maryland
February 2, 1982
I.? FOUR MEN … 1 II. FOUR WOMEN … 110 III. KOREA … 176 IV. PAX RIVER … 261 V. INTELLECTUAL DECISIONS … 321 VI. TWINS … 406 VII. THE MOON … 521 VIII. REAL TIME … 542 IX. DARK SIDE OF THE MOON … 593 X. MARS … 651 XI. THE RINGS OF SATURN … 715 The Four Families … 807 The Solid Six Astronauts … 807 The Others … 808
This is a novel and to construe it as anything else would be a mistake. The Mott, Grant, Popeand Kolff families are imaginary and are based upon no real prototypes. The Solid Six group ofastronauts did not exist, nor was there any Gemini 13 or Apollo 18.
However, the great NASA bases, the Patuxent River experience, the battle operations in Koreaand the general activities of the astronauts are realistically presented.
Certain historical personages do appear briefly, such as Lyndon B. Johnson, PresidentEisenhower, Secretary Wilson, the astronauts Deke Slayton and Mike Collins, and the scientistsJack Eddy, John Houbolt and Carl Sagan, but they are not given fictitious roles or inflatedspeeches.
The Battle of Leyte Gulf and the behavior of the admirals, American and Japanese, arefaithfully reported. There was no destroyer escort Lucas Dean , but there were warships like
it, and its exploits are not exaggerated. The major bombing of Peenemünde occurred as stated inAugust 1943 and was an exclusive British affair, but there were follow-up bombings the nextyear and I have expanded one of these. Generals Breutzl and Funkhauser are imaginary, but ofcourse, Wernher Von Braun was real and even more powerful and impressive than I state.
ON 24 October 1944 planet Earth was following its orbit about the sun as it has obediently donefor nearly five billion years. It moved at the stunning speed of sixty-six thousand miles anhour, and in doing so, created the seasons. In the northern hemisphere it was a burnishedautumn; in the southern, a burgeoning spring.
At the same time, the Earth revolved on its axis at a speed of more than a thousand miles anhour at the equator, turning from west to east, and this produced day and night.
As a new day broke over the Philippine Islands, two navy men, one Japanese, one American, wereabout to perform acts of such valor that they would be remembered whenever the historic battlesof the sea were compared and evaluated.
Later, when the ceaseless turning of the Earth brought high noon to the island town ofPeenemünde on Germany’s Baltic coast, a small, quiet mechanical genius working for AdolfHitler would find himself in the middle of an ordinary day which would have a mostextraordinary conclusion.
A few hours following, when midafternoon reached London, a Youthful American engineer, not inuniform, would see for himself the power of Hitler’s vengeance weapon, the A-4, and would takesteps to destroy it but  not its makers, because even then the American government couldforesee that when the war ended, they would need these German scientists.
And toward the close of that long day, when the Earth had revolved the western region ofAmerica into the hours of sunset, in a small city in the state of Fremont a boy of seventeenwould experience three resplendent moments, and would realize as they were happening that theywere special in a way that might never be exceeded.
In the early afternoon of that October Tuesday, Stanley, Mott, an American civilian twenty-sixyears old, displayed a sense of almost frantic urgency as he watched the radar screen at atracking station thirteen miles south of London.
“It’s coming!” an English sergeant cried, trying vainly to keep the excitement out of hisvoice. And there on the screen, as Mott watched, the sinister signal showed, a supersonic,unmanned monster bomb coming at London from some undetermined spot in Holland.
Even on the radar it displayed its silent speed, more than two thousand miles an hour. It wouldnot be heard at this station until some moments after it had passed: Then sonic booms wouldthunder through the air, reassuring the listeners that this bomb at least had passed them by.“If you hear it,” the sergeant explained to Mott, “it’s already gone.”
In the fragile moments of final silence, everyone in the room listened intently for thetremendous sound which would indicate that the rocket bomb had struck, and sensitive deviceswere pointed toward London. K-k-k-krash! The bomb had fallen. The listeners turned antenna tonew directions and soon an ashen-faced young man from Oxford University announced; “The heartof London. But I do believe east of Trafalgar Square.”
“Hurry!” Mott snapped, and within three minutes he and the Oxford man and a driver werespeeding toward London with a set of red cards showing on their windshield, allowing them topass roadblocks and salute policemen who barred certain thoroughfares. “Bomb squad,” theOxford man called as the car sped past. This was not exactly true. He and Mott were notqualified to defuse unexploded bombs, as the real squad did; they collected data on the damage inflicted by these new and terrible bombs which Hitler was throwing at London in what heboasted was “our act of final revenge.”
From the manner in which confusion grew as the car approached the area leading to TrafalgarSquare, it was apparent that the trackers had been correct; the rocket had landed in thevicinity but well to the east. This was confirmed when wardens shouted, “It landed in theCity.”
Then apprehension doubled, for this meant that the crucial business heart of London, termed theCity, was once more in peril. The Bank of England, St. Paul’s, the “Guildhall, from whichChurchill spoke-how Hitler would gloat if his spies wirelessed tonight that one of theseenticing targets had been struck, how smug Lord Haw-Haw would sound as he ticked off the losseson the midnight radio.
But when the weaving car entered Cheapside-with the driver crying “Bomb squad! Bomb squad!”-Mott and the Oxford man saw with relief that the symbolic targets had once more beenmiraculously spared, but this discovery gave them short comfort, since they must now inspectthe hideous consequences of wherever the bomb had fallen.
“Many lives gone this time,” muttered an elderly warden with pale face and droopingmustaches. He led the way through to a gaping hole where a short time before a small news kioskhad served businessmen working in the City. It and the shops near it had been eliminated-erasedand fragmented as if made of sticks-with all their clerks and customers dead.
“I don’t know which is worse,” Mott said to the Oxford man. “That ghastly hole in theground or the splinters of wood and bone.”
“Thank God, that monster in Berlin doesn’t have fifty of these to send at us every day,” theEnglish expert muttered.
“How many have hit London?” Mott asked.
“If my count is correct, this is only number seventy-three. Since September, when theystarted. Something’s badly wrong with the German supply system.”
“Our bombing of Peenemünde is what’s wrong,” Mott aid. “Your boys have wrecked theirhatching ground.”
“Let’s be grateful for that,” the Englishman sighed as he poked among the wreckage for anyshreds of the bomb.  His team was still not quite certain how the horrible thing operated.“You know, Mott, before they started to arrive, we calculated Hitler could throw a hundred aday right at the heart of London. One hundred thousand civilians dead each month. We’ve beenlucky. We’ve been terribly lucky.”