Author Archives: admin_jlross

Air and Space Magazine Review Spacewalker

A great review of Spacewalker appears in the April/May edition of Smithsonian Air and Space Magazine. Here is an excerpt: “This engaging book is more than a biography: It is Ross’ engrossing view of the shuttle program. He describes each of his flights—although he cannot say much about the classified one—as well as the overall evolution of the program. He also discusses what it was like to view the universe as a spacewalker and as a religious person. The public may not have heard of Jerry Ross, but they were lucky that he was doing what he was doing.”

Excerpt from a Great Review of Jerry’s Book by Dr. Barrett Caldwell

“Jerry Ross started out like many other kids in the Space Age. He was impressed by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (the STEM disciplines), and saw that as a ticket to a fulfilling and meaningful life. His dreams of going into space were influenced by local heroes (Gus Grissom, from Mitchell, IN) and unique opportunities (Purdue University, just down the road from his hometown). But the journey to becoming an astronaut is much more complicated, and has many more twists than our traditional linear view of the success of people whom we admire. Instead of just hearing the experience of being an astronaut, Ross provides us with a unique and personal view of becoming an astronaut.

It’s hard to overstate my response to this aspect of Spacewalker. I wish I’d heard these stories in 1984 or 1994, when I was considering my own application to the Astronaut Office. Ross points out that one need not be a perfect candidate: it wasn’t until after being accepted as an astronaut candidate that he managed to get through the swim test requirement (a fascinating admission, in itself). It doesn’t always work the first time one applies—persistence and adaptation to conditions and situations are critical. And here we learn one of the more valuable lessons that someone like Jerry Ross can tell us—not just about becoming an astronaut, but about living in general. It’s about resilience and dedication to one’s dreams and principles. Ross highlights his faith, his relationships with family, and his willingness to take a less-traveled, less-specified pathway that leads to somewhere amazing in the end. These are important lessons for all of us. We see them now in Ross’ story because of where they led: a role in constructing the International Space Station (ISS), the most impressive engineering marvel of this or any age. But it is the journey, the becoming, that all of us can learn from, even if we don’t all manage to leave the planet.

Jerry Ross is someone you’d expect to find in a grocery store or playing with his grandchildren. It can be a surprise when you also learn that he has schools named after him. He’s unassuming, matter-of-fact, and very much an Indiana native . . . who happens to have an unsurpassed role in the history of American spaceflight. Spacewalker is a valuable and wonderful description of that journey, and an important set of insights for all of us who ever wanted to go to space, and those who want to live a meaningful life here on earth.”

Dr. Barrett Caldwell, Journal of Human Performance in Extreme Environments

Spacewalker Reviewed in Quest

“Make room on your bookshelf for the latest addition to the genre of astronaut memoirs, this one the story of an engineer who became the first person to fly in space seven times and whose nine spacewalks rank near the top of the records. Shuttle astronaut Jerry Ross takes us from his youth in rural Indiana during the space race to the fulfillment of his dreams and ambitions in space, a career spanning 40 years, recounted in the straightforward manner of one whose bent is more technical than literary. Ross is modest and capable, and his likable nature informs every page of his altogether wholesome and inspirational story . . . This story is a worthy companion to the astronaut memoirs already published and is likely to be an inspiration to other dreamers of space.”
Valerie Neal, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
Published in Quest, The History of Spaceflight Quarterly, Vol. 20, 1 (2013)

Neil Armstrong, commander of Apollo 11

“As an astronaut for over three decades, one who participated in some of the most challenging and exciting Shuttle missions, Jerry Ross knows spaceflight. In Spacewalker, he details the exultation of actually being in space and brings to life the realities of preparing for and executing one of the most difficult of all human endeavors. Spacewalker is the book for anyone who ever dreamed of flying in space.”

–Neil Armstrong, commander of Apollo 11

Eugene Cernan, NASA Gemini and Apollo astronaut; co-author of The Last Man on the Moon in his foreword to Spacewalker

“I have known Jerry Ross for many years, as an astronaut, a friend, and as a fellow alumnus of Purdue University. We’ve had many opportunities to share our experiences and our dreams for space exploration. We share a passion for inspiring young people. This is the story of one man’s lifelong quest to explore the unknown, overcome setbacks and obstacles, and keep the beacon of space shining in the hearts of all people, young and old. This book is about an American Dream.”

–Eugene Cernan, NASA Gemini and Apollo astronaut; co-author of The Last Man on the Moon in his foreword to Spacewalker