Three years in the life of Homer 'Sonny' Hickam, from the moment he sees the Sputnik satellite overhead in West Virginia to his successful launch of a prizewinning rocket. A nostalgic and lyrical memoir of growing up in rural West Virginia in the 1950s and one boy's dream to rival the Russians in the race for space. In 1957 in Coalwood, West Virginia, a town dominated by the black steel towers of the mine and the coal waggons, for a fourteen year old boy there are two routes in life: a football scholarship to college or a ...
Three years in the life of Homer 'Sonny' Hickam, from the moment he sees the Sputnik satellite overhead in West Virginia to his successful launch of a prizewinning rocket. A nostalgic and lyrical memoir of growing up in rural West Virginia in the 1950s and one boy's dream to rival the Russians in the race for space. In 1957 in Coalwood, West Virginia, a town dominated by the black steel towers of the mine and the coal waggons, for a fourteen year old boy there are two routes in life: a football scholarship to college or a life underground. "Sonny" Hickam, the mine superintendent's younger son, is too small for the football team. But his destiny is altered when the town turns out to watch the Soviet Sputnik satellite pass overhead. From that moment, Homer Hickam and his friends determine that they will form the Big Creek Missle Agency and build an American rocket. This is the true story of the boys' adventures from the moment their first rocket, Auk 1, destroys the garden fence and the lovingly tended roses. Supported only by a tolerant mother and a father who turns a literally blind eye, Sonny gradually entrances the entire town to support his enterprise, which eventually is entered for the National Science Fair. He is the first boy from Coalwood ever to enter and among the judges is Werner von Braun. October Sky is the story of a a group of young enthusiasts whose ambition revives an industrial town in decline. They are emblems of a better future, of a life outside the vicious confines of the pit, of a world beyond the imagination. This is a sensitive, funny, brilliant tale of boys besotted by a dream: they want to build a rocket.
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Very good. Signed by author. Mass market (rack) paperback. Glued binding. xvi, , 428 p. From Wikipedia: "Homer Hadley Hickam, Jr. (born February 19, 1943) is an American author, Vietnam veteran, and a former NASA engineer. His autobiographical novel Rocket Boys: A Memoir, was a No. 1 New York Times Best Seller, is studied in many American and international school systems, and was the basis for the 1999 film October Sky. Hickam has also written a number of best-selling memoirs and novels including the "Josh Thurlow" historical fiction novels. His books have been translated into several languages. Homer H. Hickam, Jr. is the second son of Homer, Sr. and Elsie Gardener Hickam (nee Lavender) and was raised in Coalwood, West Virginia. He graduated from Big Creek High School in 1960. While there, he led a group of boys who built rockets. They called themselves the Big Creek Missile Agency (BCMA). After working on finding the perfect way to build rockets, they took their designs to the 1960 National Science Fair, where the BCMA won a gold and silver medal in the area of propulsion. Hickam graduated from Virginia Tech in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering While at Virginia Tech he designed a cannon to be fired at games and during corps of cadets functions. The cannon was cast out of brass that had been collected from cadet belt buckles and caps, and scrap he got from his father, the superintendent of a coal mine. The cannon was named "The Skipper" after President John F. Kennedy and has become an icon for the Hokies. The original Skipper is now retired after having been replaced by a second cannon "Skipper II" after an incident in 1983. "Skipper II" was cast to carry on the tradition at Virginia Tech, and the original Skipper now resides in honor in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Museum. A United States Army veteran, Hickam served as a First Lieutenant in the Fourth Infantry Division during the Vietnam War in 1967 and 1968. For his service, he earned the Commendation and Bronze Star Medals. He served six years on active duty, leaving the Army as a Captain. Hickam was an engineer for the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command from 1971 to 1978 assigned to Huntsville. For three years (1978 81), he was an engineer for the 7th Army Training Command in Germany. He began employment with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at Marshall Space Flight Center in 1981 as an aerospace engineer. During his NASA career, Hickam worked in spacecraft design and crew training. His specialties at NASA included training astronauts on science payloads, and extra-vehicular activities (EVA). He also trained astronaut crews for many Spacelab and Space Shuttle missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope deployment mission, the first two Hubble repair missions, Spacelab-J (the first Japanese astronauts), and the Solar Max repair mission. Prior to his retirement from federal service in 1998, Hickam was the Payload Training Manager for the International Space Station Program. In May 2013 Hickam presented 16-year-old Florida High School student Kiera Wilmot with a scholarship to the United States Advanced Space Academy to compensate for her expulsion from Bartow High School and arrest on felony charges (which were later dropped) arising from a science experiment that she conducted on school premises that resulted in a small explosion. Homer Hickam began writing in 1969 after returning from serving in the Vietnam War. His first writings were magazine stories about scuba diving and his time as a scuba instructor. Then, having dived in many of the wrecks involved, he wrote about the battle against the U-boats along the American east coast during World War II. This resulted in his first book, Torpedo Junction (1989), a military history best-seller published in 1989 by the Naval Institute Press. In 1998, Delacorte Press published Hickam's second book, Rocket Boys, the story of his life as the son of a coal...
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