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The Real Space Cowboys
ISBN: 978-1-942613-77-0

Includes a new DVD featuring 30+ rare documentaries and video clips for more than 20 hours of video content!

Book Details

Author: Ed Buckbee
Hardcover: 256 pages
Product Dimensions: 6”x9”
Retail Price: $29.95

Book Description

The Real Space Cowboys tells the story of America’s Mercury 7 astronauts, who volunteered to be the first to explore the unknown perils of spaceflight beginning in the late 1950s.

Detailed interviews with the Mercury 7—Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper, and Deke Slayton—provide a first-hand account at the competition, controversies, training, and hard work that took them a step beyond their former lives as cocky military pilots.

The book also tells the story of the twelve brave Moonwalkers who actually landed on the Moon, Wernher von Braun and his team of rocket scientists who developed the technology to propel men and materials into space, the Russian Cosmonauts and Chinese Taikonauts who helped fuel the competitive space race, plus humorous stories about the pranks and goofs the Mercury 7 enjoyed to pull on each other.

Written by Ed Buckbee, a public affairs officer under Wernher von Braun who founded U.S. Space Camp and was personal friends with the Mercury 7, The Real Space Cowboys is a fitting tribute to the origins of manned space flight and the men who blazed that trail into the unknown.

With the 50th Anniversary of the first Moon landing scheduled for July 20, 2019, now is the perfect time to reflect on these great pilots as future pioneers plan new adventures in space flight.


Ed Buckbee is vested in the hopes, dreams and realization of America’s manned space flight program. He began his NASA career when America’s Mercury astronauts were selected. He attended the launches of Alan Shepard and John Glenn and was present when the Apollo astronauts lifted-off for the Moon landings. His aspirations took a steep and rapid rise as the public relations lead under rocket pioneer Wernher von Braun and as a spokesman for the Mercury astronauts.

A passionate torchbearer, Buckbee was tapped by von Braun in 1970 as the first chief executive of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. He directed the design and operations of the museum that has exposed more than 17 million visitors to NASA’s missions of science and space exploration. He assembled the world’s largest collection of space hardware and convened the talent to design and execute a premiere space flight experience known as Space Camp. Featuring hands-on astronaut training simulations, this youth program has attracted more than 700,000 future space flyers.

Today, Space Camp has an expanded menu of programs and counts thousands of high technology professionals (including astronauts) among alumni. Buckbee continues to advocate for the center, camp and for advancing the space frontier. He is keeping the dream of space flight alive for the Mars Generation and beyond. Buckbee, an author, speaker and space advocate, has told the story and related the importance of mankind’s achievements in space to audiences around the world for more than five decades.

He strives to increase awareness of the importance to prepare America’s youth to enter fields of emerging technology. Maintaining a leadership role in human space exploration depends upon the quality of the work force pipeline. He is a living witness to the history-making, world-changing era of mankind landing on the Moon and The Real Space Cowboys who took us there.


“As one of The Real Space Cowboys, I can assure you this is the real story of me and my fellow astronauts.”
—Charlie Duke, Apollo 16 Moonwalker

“Going into space was an easier challenge for Daddy than constantly being in the public eye. He enjoyed his privacy and had to learn how to handle always being recognized.”
—Laura Shepard Churchley, daughter of Alan B. Shepard Jr.

“The enduring spirit of exploration is in all of us. My father’s dream was that space exploration could bring the people of all nations together in the peaceful pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.”
—Margrit von Braun, daughter of Wernher von Braun

“Ed Buckbee, a NASA spokesman for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts, shares his experiences with America’s early space flyers.”
—J.R. Thompson, Former Deputy Administrator, NASA, and Director, Marshall Space Flight Center

“As far as returning to normal life, I don’t think any of us ever returned to normal life. I don’t think any of us were normal people to start with.”
—Alan B. Shepard Jr., Apollo 14 Moonwalker

“Levity is the lubricant of a crisis. We resort to jokes, pranks and good-natured kidding to relieve tension, stress, and boredom.”
—Walter M. Schirra, Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo Commander

Proceeds from the sale of this book will also help other communities and organizations preserve their history through Our American Heritage Project, a non-profit organization.

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