Following the space race with the US, the Russian space program found itself strapped for cash. To help keep their cosmonauts and the Mir space station flying, they sold space on the station to film commercials.
There have been many practical jokes played in space both by the astronauts and ground controllers. The very first was a prank pulled by Gemini 6 astronauts Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford on December 6, 1965.
Some of the Research for "Space Oddities"
One chapter of the book deals with traditions like the superstition of eating peanuts to insure a successful mission, the steak and egg breakfast, and wake up calls like this one by Robin Williams for the flight of STS-26.
Forgotten Stories of Mankind's Exploration of Space
Nothing captivates the human imagination like the vast unknowns of space. Ancient petroglyphs present renderings of the heavens, proof that we have been gazing up at the stars with wonder for thousands of years. Since then, mankind has systematically expanded our cosmic possibilities. What were once flights of fancy and dreams of science fiction writers have become nearly routine – a continuous human presence orbiting the Earth, probes flying beyond our solar system, and men walking on the moon. NASA and the Russian space program make traveling to the stars look easy, but it has been far from that. Space travel is a sometimes heroic, sometimes humorous, and always dangerous journey fraught with perils around every corner that most of us have never heard of or have long since forgotten.
Space Oddities brings these unknown, offbeat, and obscure stories of space to life. From the showmanship and bravado of the earliest known space fatality, German Max Valier, to the first ever indictment under the Espionage Act on an Army officer who leaked secrets concerning the development of early U.S. rockets; and the story of a single loose bolt that defeated the Soviet Union’s attempt to beat America to the moon…
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Release Date: August 15, 2022