Out of this World
New Mexico’s Contribution to Space Travel
by Loretta Hall

175 pages 30 illustrations; 7 x 10
ISBN 978-1-890689-79-7 ($19.95 pb) 978-1-890689-86-5 ($27.95 hb)



People have dreamed of traveling into space for thousands of years, but atmospheric flight by balloon was not achieved until the late eighteenth century. Powered flight took another 120 years to became a reality. Progress toward space travel accelerated rapidly during the twentieth century, with manned orbital flights being achieved less than sixty years after the Wright Brothers’ first airplane flight. The amazingly quick development of the United States’ space program resulted from the efforts of thousands of people scattered throughout the country. Many crucial experiments took place in New Mexico.

Out of this World tells the stories—ranging from hair raising to humorous—of people and animals who worked to develop powerful liquid-fuel rockets, determine the hazards of cosmic radiation, examine the physical and psychological effects of weightlessness, test spacecraft components and safety equipment, devise and implement procedures to evaluate astronaut candidates, search the skies for destinations, scrutinize UFO appearances and possible alien landings on Earth, train astronauts for Moon missions, and—ultimately—construct the first purpose-built spaceport for recreational and commercial flights. From Goddard’s early flights to today’s Virgin Galactic’s pioneering commercial flights, New Mexico has provided fertile soil for cultivating space travel for fun and profit.

What People are Saying about this Book
“We must rekindle the sense of adventure and the irresistible urge for exploration beyond this planet that took us to the Moon and, I hope, will take us to Mars. In her entertaining, inspiring Out of this World, Loretta Hall reveals the grit, determination, daring, and down-to-earth humanness of adventurers who brought us to the verge of making space travel available to everyone.”
Buzz Aldrin, Gemini and Apollo astronaut

“I knew Spaceport America was an extension of important New Mexico space history. I had heard the names and I knew the basic storylines: Goddard, von Braun, Stapp and Ham. But I didn’t know, in detail, the drama, the intrigue, and the level of risk and passion until I read Loretta Hall’s Out of this World: New Mexico’s Contributions to Space Travel. I know it’s a cliché, but here goes: I couldn’t put this book down. I was absolutely riveted by the very human stories. Goddard battling tarantulas and rattlesnakes in Roswell. Kittinger’s parachute line wrapping his neck on his first jump. Ham dodging the reporters and cameras after his successful launch, flight and recovery. And Stapp’s eyes filled with blood after his record-breaking rocket-sled ride. Most importantly, this book truly establishes New Mexico’s vital role in the history of space travel. It makes me very proud to be a New Mexican and honored to help carry on the state’s leading role through our work at Spaceport America.”
Rick Homans, Founding Chairman, New Mexico Spaceport Authority

Recipient of the 2011 Best New Mexico Book Award, New Mexico Book Awards
Recipient of the 2011 Best History Book Award, New Mexico Book Awards
Recipient of the 2012 Best General Non-fiction Book Award, New Mexico Press Women
Recipient of the 2012 Second Place History Book Award, New Mexico Press Women
Recipient of the 2012 Third Place General Non-fiction Book Award, National Federation of Press Women