The Art of NASA
The Illustrations That Sold the Missions, Expanded Collector's Edition
by Piers Bizony
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Pub Date 23 May 2023 | Archive Date 02 May 2023
Quarto Publishing Group – Motorbooks, Motorbooks
Formed in 1958, NASA has long maintained a department of visual artists to depict the concepts and technologies created in humankind’s quest to explore the final frontier. Culled from a carefully chosen reserve of approximately 3,000 files deep in the NASA archives, the 200+ awe-inspiring illustrations presented in this special boxed edition are complemented by:
- 32 pages of new material
- A paper model of the Lunar Module
- A rolled poster
- A sheet of four postcards
- A new foreword by astronaut Tom Jones
From space suits to capsules, from landing modules to the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, and more recent concepts for space planes, The Art of NASA presents 60 years of American space exploration in an unprecedented fashion. All the landmark early missions are represented in detail—Gemini, Mercury, Apollo—as are post-Space Race accomplishments, like the mission to Mars and other deep-space explorations.
The insightful text relates the wonderful stories associated with the art. For instance, the incredibly rare early Apollo illustrations show how Apollo might have looked if the landing module had never been developed. Black-and-white Gemini drawings illustrate how the massive NASA art department did its stuff with ink pen and rubdown Letraset textures. Cross-sections of the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project docking adapter reveal Russian sensitivity about US “male” probes “penetrating” their spacecraft, thus the androgynous “adapter” now used universally in space. International Space Station cutaways show how huge the original plan was, but also what was retained.
Every picture in The Art of NASA tells a special story. This collection of the rarest of the rare is not only a unique view of NASA history—it’s a fascinating look at the art of illustration and a glimpse of NASA history like no other.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 19 members
A wonderful book with photos and artwork from the history of NASA and space flight. I enjoyed getting to see some of the artwork from the 1950s and 1960s and how it compares to what was eventually designed and developed.
As the owner of almost every Astronaut autobiography and several other Nasa history books I was really keen to recieve this ARC through Netgalley.
I recently had the pleasure of reading a book that combined two of my passions: NASA and vintage artwork. The book is filled with stunning illustrations that capture the essence of NASA's history and achievements. But it's not just pretty pictures - the book also includes detailed historical information that adds depth and context to the artwork. As a NASA enthusiast, I found this book to be a delightful addition to my collection. It's informative, visually appealing, and just plain cool. I highly recommend it to anyone who shares my love for all things space-related.
The book that was reviewed is the advance review copy (ARC). Thank you NetGalley and to the publisher for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.
Received the Art of Nasa as an advance reader’s copy through NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased opinion. The following is that unbiased opinion.
What an amazing collection of artwork associated with the US space program! As a long-time member of the space industrial community, I was thrust into yesteryear the moment I gazed upon the cover. Subsequently going through the pages was part nostalgic, part pure joy. For those of us old enough to recognize the artwork when it was originally used, this book becomes an outstanding gift through which we can easily recall our youth, our careers, our friendships. For those of us too young to have lived a pre-desktop computer age, this is a visual stroll through a neglected Garden of Eden ripe with images that will still tug at the imagination of students being exposed to STEM fields. In addition to the artwork, Piers provides succinct, easy to read narratives about NASA and the related art work. The following is an example of the meticulous narratives – “Tens of thousands of hand-inked hardware drawings adorned with rub0doiwn letters and dot-screening textures were prepped on stiff white paper sheets for camera-ready artwork, which would be turned into negative film sheets and sent off for printing as positive photo handouts. Then, the negative sheets were dispatched for acid etching onto metal plates for printing in technician’s instruction manuals. All too often, the original paper artworks were regarded as intermediate processes and most were discarded . . . “
These narratives not only add to a greater appreciation of the art, but in many cases illuminate the reader’s understanding of the time, the process . . . the work that went into creating the art of NASA. My only criticism of this book is my ARC was not an actual hardcopy. For anyone reading this - I would truly appreciate a copy of this book as a retirement gift when I do retire! This will be the book that graces not only the coffee table but serves as many a discussion starter. And, I’m already thinking about who is going to receive the hard cover as a gift this holiday season.
If you have any interest in the history of spaceflight or just like to look at beautiful art, “The Art of NASA” by Piers Bizony is a great way to spend a few hours looking at more than 200 wonderful illustrations that imagine what space travel would be like. My favorite image is Fred Takasumi’s 1961 painting of the Saturn V lifting off backlit by flames and smoke. Incredible!
There were interesting tidbits of information provided too.. For instance, I didn’t know that Project Orion was far enough along back in 1959 that companies like American Bosch Arma were trying to sell the concept of rockets powered by A-bombs
I thought it was a shame that the intro to the section on the Apollo Program doesn’t mention astronauts Grissom, White, and Chaffee, who died while running a pre-launch test of Apollo 1. And I’m surprised that SpaceX wasn’t mentioned since their Starship rockets bear more than a passing resemblance to the sleek ships envisioned by Chesley Bonestell. But those are minor complaints about an otherwise excellent book.
The book that was reviewed is the advance review copy (ARC) and was about 223 pages in length. Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to review the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This is the perfect coffee table book for a space lover. The book is a collection of art created for NASA to promote or illustrate the space program. The first section showa more hypothetical drawings or what working and living in space could look like. Then it moves forward through time to the more realistic drawings of rockets and space craft that truly go to the moon and beyond. The final section called The Expanse focuses on the exploration of space beyond Mars with satellites and probes. There is more written commentary than I was expecting and it is very informative. It isn’t just a description of the art work alone. Because it is for NASA the book is focused on the United States, although there is art of the international space station as well. This is a beautiful collection for a space enthusiast. Thank you to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group - Motorbooks for the temporary ARC and I’m leaving a voluntary review.
This is a beautiful book encompassing hand drawn illustrations and later on, digital renders. The book is well laid out with big bright imagery and detailed captions. A lovely addition for any space & art fans out there!
This was soooo cool to read!!! I have been a space nerd since the first time I learned the solar system wasn’t the whole universe, just a blip on the radar of the vastness of our existence. So when I saw this book pop up, my inner childhood astronaut (decked in a winter coat, ski pants, and fish bowl on my head) went giddy with excitement. The pictures are so detailed and impressive, and the detail descriptions along with anecdotes are charming, informative, and enthusiastic.
Thank you so much for the ARC!!!!
A beautifully illustrated book! There are some really great pictures, I definitely need this for my couch table - not just something for space fans to look through!
This book is an excellent book for all ages.
My son is 16 and enjoyed it a lot, but he felt like it would be even better as a way to get younger kids interested in space exploration.
I found this to be a really informative pictorial history of NASA flights, and gave a great background and history of ideas that would shape final designs. The cutaway drawing helped realise the immense scale of the space craft, and how little space is reserved for crew comfort. I loved the layout and short simple explanations - compared with some other pictorial books which had pages of text followed by batches of images, the order of images and short paragraphs of descriptions made it simple to follow, and put down (although I just wanted to keep turning pages and delve further in to the book).
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