IN ASTRONAUTS ON PARADE, author Gene Marianetti documents an eyewitness account of this country’s accomplishments in the Space Race, overcoming unbelievable odds to surpass the Soviet Union and land a man on the Moon within the time frame established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.
A member of the NASA Public Affairs team in Washington, D.C., Marianetti helped coordinate the highly successful campaign to sell the space program to the American public and the world—especially the Apollo program, Moon landings, and early Space Shuttle missions.
Marianetti’s primary job was to get astronauts at the Manned Space Craft Center in Houston out of their space suits and on the road as salesman to help promote the program through public appearances, speeches, interviews and media exposure. At the same time, he worked to develop an agency-wide guest invitation plan to handle visitors and the general public for the upcoming Apollo launches at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Beginning with the “Week in the Barrel” program, non-flight astronauts began to hit the road and were filling requests for speakers across the country. Astronauts soon began appearing at luncheons, banquets and universities and colleges. The thrust of their remarks was to provide updates on the progress of returning to flight. Returning astronauts were welcomed by an adoring public and honored in tickertape parades, at the White House, and joint Congressional appearances six times in the first years of the space age.
During this time, astronauts were dispatched on Presidential goodwill trips and visited hundreds of countries and every U.S. state and many territories to share their spaceflight experiences throughout the Apollo years.
Marianetti worked with the astronauts of every Apollo mission, but has fond memories of working alongside Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins in planning Apollo 11 anniversary events beginning with the first on July 20, 1970 and every fifth year thereafter, including his last observance in 1989.
Released in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of the first lunar landing, Astronauts On Parade presents a unique inside look at the Space Race and publicity campaign that ultimately helped finance the American space program for decades.
A Fine Read!!! You are an excellent writer! And a remarkable historian!
It is impossible for me to imagine the discipline and dedication you had to have during your ‘27 years in the barrel’! The way you dealt with deadlines, logistics, egos, beurocrats, geography, protocol….. all of it….day-in-and-day out, is absolutely amazing. My eyes were glazing over after the first two chapter “preface” and I was looking forward to read about more personal interactions, anecdotes (both serious and humorous), whispers, “politicos” foreign and domestic and celebrities who made your job so challenging and so rewarding.
Your spectacular record keeping and memory, coupled with your journalistic DNA that compelled you to furnish the necessary ’who, what, when and where’, made reading and trying to remember most of the hyper-details of the many launches and crews—–even travel itineraries that were precisely recalled down to the minute—-a bit daunting along the way.
There were a few personal moments and revelations as the history unfolded, but not enough. For instance, the paragraph at the top of page 90, recounting the moment that you were using your typing skills learned at Great Falls High to type a speech for the first man in the history of earth who walked on the surface of the moon. Chilling!
Great Pictures!!! You must have so many fantastic pictures, letters and objects in your library! It was so enjoyable going through them in the book. (And to notice the grey hair creeping in toward the latter launches.)
I am looking forward to your next book and all the personal stories you will share. I am excited to read you, not only as a journalist, but as a story teller.
—Dean Smith, Journalist
Gene’s responsibilities over a 27-year career with NASA gave him a one-of-a-kind inside view of a fascinating segment of American history in the making AND the people who made it happen. Gene experienced it all, and he shares that inside view in an easy-to-understand style.”
—Gerry Griffin, Former Apollo Mission Control Flight Director, and Former Director of Johnson Space Center
“Gene…Yours has been an outstanding career in a historic time and many of us are in your debt for the extensive help you have provided. Your thoughtfulness and sensitivity have been very important to us and have benefitted NASA in more ways than they will ever know.”
—Neil Armstrong, NASA Astronaut (Letter to author, April 25, 1994)
“Gene dedicated himself both personally and professionally…. He was more than simply staff support or an asset—he was a necessity. He lived by the creed ‘If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well!”
—Eugene A. Cernan, NASA Astronaut and last man on the Moon (Letter to John P. Donnelly, Asst. Admin. for Public Affairs, November 8, 1974)
“A large part of success is to be in the right place at the right time, and clearly we both were. My thanks personally for helping me grow up from a ‘stick and rudder’ type to some semblance of a public speaker….”
—Fred W. Haise, NASA Astronaut (Letter to author, April 17, 1994)
Click here for story from Great Falls Tribune (Montana) 07/10/19
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About The Author
Book DetailsAuthor: Gene Marianetti
Product Dimensions: 6" x 9"
Cover Type: Hard cover