The New Guys:
The Historic Class of Astronauts That Broke Barriers and Changed the Face of Space Travel
William Morrow, 2023, 528 pp., Hardcover. $40.00. www.harpercollins.com
The story of NASA’s Astronaut Class 8 is an unprecedented look at these extraordinary explorers who broke barriers and blasted through glass ceilings. Egos clashed, ambitions flared, and romances bloomed as the New Guys competed with one another and navigated the internal politics at NASA for a chance to rocket to the stars. Marking a departure from the iconic military test pilots who had dominated the space program since its inception, the New Guys arrived at the dawn of a new era of space flight. Teardrop-shaped space capsules from Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo gave way to the space shuttle, a revolutionary space plane capable of launching like a rocket, hauling cargo like a truck, and landing back on Earth like an airliner. They mastered this new machine from its dangerous first test flights to its greatest achievements: launching hundreds of satellites, building the International Space Station, and deploying the Hubble Space Telescope. This book depicts these charismatic young astronauts and the exuberant social and scientific progress of the space shuttle program against the efforts of NASA officials who struggled to meet America’s military demands and commercial aspirations.