A Kansan Conquers the Cosmos presents the story of Alan Glines, who began working with NASA in 1966 and was part of Mission Control during the height of the manned space program. Full of fun and excitement, Glines’ autobiography offers a first-person glimpse into four decades of the field of aerospace.
He treats his own history from the beginning of his career through to the present and shares interesting anecdotes and histories of NASA and the American manned space program.
From his days as a science fiction-obsessed youth who ran a theatre at Kansas University as if it were mission control to his various experiences in NASA and private industry, Glines attained the Mission Control spirit and dedication that he has lived for decades –that is, being on the playing field and being all you can be, all the time. Over four decades, he has acquired an extraordinarily rich tapestry of experience in the aerospace worlds of development and operations, and command and control, exploring no fewer than seven geographical and intellectual career paths over the years. That includes nearly a decade of work in Europe for the European Space Agency (ESA).
As a man whose career, teaching and speaking efforts continue to inspire others today, Glines’ story is a detailed and unique look at the aerospace industry in America and Europe from the inside.
Tell us something about yourself.
As one of the original men of Apollo mission control I have worked for NASA during its heyday of manned spaceflight culminating in the Apollo Program landing a man on the moon for 5 missions beginning in 1969. I grew up in Independence, KS and graduated from the University of Kansas (BSEE) in 1966. I joined NASA then and rose to the primary position of INCO (for Integrated Communications Officer) in the main control room by Apollo. I began my NASA career when I joined NASA in 1966 in the middle of the Gemini (2-man spacecraft) Program. After Apollo I continued as INCO for Skylab and rose to Assistant Flight Director for the Apollo-Soyuz docking in space. My last position for NASA found me on the CA Lakebed runways for the first landing tests of the Space Shuttle Enterprise. With aerospace private industry I first worked for TRW on satellite and observatory projects as a sr. systems engineer before journeying to Europe for ESA (European Space Agency) and the Philippines on spacecraft projects. One of my last proposal efforts before retirement from Northrop Grumman Space Technology (NGST) was to help design the Orion spacecraft for NASA. This spacecraft is designed to perform future trips to the asteroids and eventually the planet Mars.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was encouraged to document my many space adventures from friends, colleagues and audience members from countless speaking engagements over my 40-plus year career beginning with NASA for Apollo.
How did you choose the title?
The title: A KANSAS CONQUERS THE COSMOS is the shortest alliteration covering my career from my Kansas beginnings.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I encountered a few rejections before selecting a Print-on-Demand (POD) publisher and paying for my publication in hardback and paperback.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I got started when I forced myself into time to write at the tail end of my career. My book was completed when I gained much more time for writing after I retired.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Not really. I try to get a good start on writing days by beginning in the morning just after breakfast.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
All characters are real life in my memoir.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
I learned quite a bit about the publishing industry and how hopeless it can be for the first-time writer.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would skip all the mainline publishers and agents and go directly to the POD publishers where I have more control and profit from my efforts.
What types of books do you like to read?
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Yes, I am researching getting into the science fiction field with a story using my manned spacecraft background and encountering intelligent life in the universe.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
If you are a beginner, skip the mainline publishers and go directly into self-publishing using a top of the line POD publisher.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
The perfect reader for my book is people with a technical background who have a love for spaceflight and science fiction.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
Readers can learn more about my book on its Facebook page and on Amazon.com.