Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Awards


Booklet: History of the Emme Awards from 1983-2013

The annual Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Awards, named for NASA’s first Historian, recognize outstanding books that advance public understanding of astronautics.  They reward originality, scholarship and readability.  Anyone, including authors and publishers, can submit a title for consideration.  Submittals are limited to English-language books published (original appearance or new addition) on any of a number of aspects of spaceflight in a variety of disciplines and ranging from juvenile and pop literature to texts intended for academia or practicing scientists and engineers.  In addition to obvious topics of human spaceflight and unmanned interplanetary explorations, nominated titles may also cover related subjects such as astronomy and cosmology, as well as the occasional non-astronautics title that has a space “flavor.”

Two additional awards known as Emme Juniors were added in 2009 for books written specifically for children (K-5) and young adults (6-12). They recognize efforts to inspire and educate today’s students (and future leaders) through publications aimed at K-12 students.

A review panel of the AAS History Committee selects the award recipients. The Emme Award cycle is as follows:

  • Apr – AAS History Committee invites publishers to submit titles for consideration
  • May – Deadline for receipt of review copies
  • May-Aug – Review panel reads titles submitted for consideration and convenes to discuss
  • Sep – Review panel informs AAS Office of titles chosen to receive awards, as well as the list of finalists.  AAS Office informs recipients and their publishers, and prepares press release announcing the award selections.

A publisher may nominate or the author can self-nominate by submitting four (4) copies of their book to the judging committee. Please email to request the addresses of the judging committee.

Award Recipients:

  • 2022
    Beyond Sputnik and the Space Race by Hugh R. Slotten
    Special Recognition: Apollo Remastered by Andy Saunders
  • 2021
    The Burning Blue: The Untold Story of Christa McAuliffe and NASA’s Challenger Disaster by Kevin Cook
  • 2020
    Operation Moonglow: A Political History of Project Apollo by Teasel Muir-Harmony
  • 2019
      NASA and the Long Civil Rights Movement (University Press Florida) by Brian C. Odom and Stephen R. Waring
      Moonbound: Apollo 11 and the Dream of Spaceflight (Hill and Wang) by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm
  • 2018
      Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier (Palgrave) by John Logsdon
  • 2017
       Apollo in the Age of Aquarius (Harvard University Press) by Neil M. Maher
  • 2016
       How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight (Penguin Press) by Julian Guthrie
  • 2015
       German Rocketeers in the Heart of Dixie – Making Sense of the Nazi Past during the Civil Rights Era (Yale University Press) by Monique Laney
  • 2014
        Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission (National Geographic) by Marc Kaufman
  • 2013
        Dreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration (Princeton University Press) by Chris Impey and Holly Henry
  • 2012
        The Visioneers: How A Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future (Princeton University Press) by W. Patrick McCray
         Destined for Space: Our Story of Exploration (Smithsonian Books and Capstone) by Don Nardo (Children’s Category)
    Spacesuit: A History of Fact and Fiction (Casemate Publishers) by Brett Goodin (Young Adult Category)
  • 2011
    • Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo (The MIT Press) by Nicholas de Monchaux
    • The Scientists Behind Space (Heinemann Raintree, an imprint of Capstone) by Eve Hartman (Children’s Category)
    • Man on the Moon: How a Photograph Made Anything Seem Possible (Compass Point, an imprint of Capstone) by Pamela Dell (Young Adult Category)
  • 2010
    • John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon (Palgrave Macmillan) by John M. Logsdon
    • The Red Rockets’ Glare: Spaceflight and the Soviet Imagination, 1857-1957 (Cambridge University Press) by Asif A. Siddiqi
    • Eight Great Planets! (Picture Window Books) by Laura Purdie Salas (Children’s Category)
    • This is Rocket Science: True Stories of the Risk-taking Scientists who Figure Out Ways to Explore Beyond Earth (National Geographic Children’s Books) by Gloria Skurzynski (Young Adult Category)
  • 2009
    • Ambassadors from Earth: Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft (University of Nebraska Press) by Jay Gallentine
    • If I Were an Astronaut (Picture Window Books) by Eric Braun (Children’s Category)
    • Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? (Abrams ComicArts) by Brian Fies (Young Adult Category)
  • 2008Digital Apollo – Human and Machines in Spaceflight (The MIT Press) by David A. Mindell
  • 2007Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War (Knopf) by Michael J. Neufeld
  • 2006
    • Into the Black: JPL and the American Space Program, 1976-2004 (Yale University Press) by Peter J. Westwick
    • Honorable Mention: Testing the Limits – Aviation Medicine and the Origins of Manned Space Flight (Texas A&M Press) by Maura Mackowski
  • 2005First Man – The Life of Neil A. Armstrong (Simon & Schuster) by James R. Hansen
  • 2004Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: America’s First Women in Space Program (The Johns Hopkins University Press) by Margaret Weitekamp
  • 2003Leaving Earth: Space Stations, Rival Superpowers, and the Quest for Interpanetary Travel (Joseph Henry Press) by Robert Zimmerman
  • 2002The Secret of Apollo: Systems Management in American and European Space Programs (The Johns Hopkins University Press) by Stephen B. Johnson
  • 2001Moon Lander – How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module (Smithsonian Institution Press) by Thomas J. Kelly
  • 2000Challenge to Apollo – The Soviet Union and the Space Race 1945 – 1974 (NASA) by Asif A. Siddiqi
  • 1999America’s Space Sentinels: DSP Satellites and National Security (University Press of Kansas) by Jeffrey T. Richelson
  • 1998This New Ocean – The Story of the First Space Age (Random House) by William E. Burrows
  • 1997Space and the American Imagination (Smithsonian Institution Press) by Howard E. McCurdy
  • 1996Blind Watchers of the Sky – The People and Ideas that Shaped Our View of the Universe (Addison-Wesley) by Rocky Kolb
  • 1995Spaceflight Revolution: NASA Langley Research Center from Sputnik to Apollo (NASA) by James R. Hansen
  • 1994International Cooperation in Space: The Example of the European Space Agency (Harvard University Press) by Roger M. Bonnet and Vittorio Manno
  • 1993The Sputnik Challenge: Eisenhower’s Response to the Soviet Satellite (Oxford University Press) by Robert A. Divine
  • 1992Blueprint for Space: From Science Fiction to Science Fact (Smithsonian Institution Press) by Frederick I. Ordway and Randy Liebermann
  • 1991Exploring the Sun: Solar Science Since Galileo (The Johns Hopkins University Press) by Karl Hufbauer
  • 1990The Home Planet (Addison-Wesley) by Kevin W. Kelley
  • 1989Journey Into Space: The First Thirty Years of Space Exploration by (W.W. Norton & Company) by Bruce C. Murray
  • 1988 – No Award Given
  • 1987Before Lift Off (The Johns Hopkins University Press) by Henry S.F. Cooper, Jr.
  • 1986Pioneering the Space Frontier Report of the National Commission on Space (Bantam Books)
  • 1985Beachheads in Space (Scribner) by Jerry Grey
  • 19842010: Odyssey Two (Del Rey) by Arthur C. Clarke
  • 1983Global Talk (Sijthoff & Noordhoff) by Joseph N. Pelton