50 Space Missions That Changed the World

Formac. (Beginner’s Guide to Space). Nov. 2020. 88p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781459506268.
Gr 5-8–Read explains 50 of the most important space missions that pushed boundaries and reaped new discoveries. The text starts with World War II and Germany’s V-2 rocket and then shifts to a cursory history of NASA’s long-running space program. Read simplifies the pivotal parts of each mission so that readers can easily understand the evolution of technology that has allowed scientists to explore outer space. The missions include extraordinary achievements in engineering, human spaceflight, international relations, and general space exploration. Additionally, the final chapter describes ongoing missions and future missions that are in the works. A glossary and photo credits are included as well as a list of relevant websites. Notably missing is NASA’s Gemini program, which tested man’s ability to withstand long spaceflight and engineering feats. The primary use of the metric system throughout the text could be confusing to readers who are not familiar with it. The striking photographs provide a visual representation of the technology, spacecraft, and scientific ideas that are discussed.
VERDICT A recommended purchase for public and school libraries for its ability to make the history of space exploration accessible to young readers.

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