The Sky Above
An Astronaut’s Memoir of Adventure, Persistence, and Faith
312 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 34 Illustrations
Looking up at the stars at the age of ten, John Casper dreamed of being a space explorer. The Sky Above tells how persistence and determination led to flying in space, after serving the nation as a combat fighter pilot and test pilot. Despite life-threatening experiences and failures, his spiritual faith was pivotal in overcoming life’s challenges.
Through vivid storytelling, the reader rides alongside the author in the cockpit, feeling the fear of enemy antiaircraft fire and the pressure of high g-forces during combat maneuvering. His insider accounts of four Space Shuttle missions vividly describe exhilarating launches, the magical experience of weightlessness, and the magnificent beauty of Earth from hundreds of miles above.
A central theme running throughout Casper’s life is his faith, as he struggles with the loss of fellow pilots and confronts life’s inconsistencies and disappointments. This is a story about his growth and trust in his Creator, whose tenacious spirit never left him, even during the devastating Challenger and Columbia disasters.
Readers interested in stories of true adventure or overcoming adversity will discover unique drama and insight. Those trying to reach their dreams, whatever they are, will find inspiration; those unsure or challenged in their faith will find encouragement.
1. A Lesson in Courage
2. My Crazy Dream
3. First Adventures
4. Ramblin’ Wrecks, Falcons, and Boilermakers
5. Tweets, Talons, and Super Sabres
6. Combat with the Lucky Devils
7. Cold War Fighter Pilot
8. Experimental Test Pilot
9. Life in the Puzzle Palace
10. Challenger and Return to Flight
11. Space Shuttle Rookie
12. Space Shuttle Commander
13. Microgravity Lab
14. Saving the Space Station
15. A Four-Rendezvous Flight
16. Safety Director
17. The Unthinkable Happens
18. Return to Flight . . . Again
19. First Test Flight of Orion
Appendix: Aircraft and Spacecraft Flown
About the Author
"The Sky Above tells the story of dedication, perseverance, passion, and enduring faith, which made a lifelong dream and vision a reality. A book that demonstrates that the seemingly unattainable can indeed be achieved. A story of value to both young and old with goals yet to attain." —George W. S. Abbey, former director of NASA's Johnson Space Center and fellow in the Space Policy Program at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy
"The Sky Above is a must-read, especially for space buffs. It is the personal story of an Air Force jet pilot becoming an astronaut and fulfilling his life's dream. The book includes one of the best descriptions I have read of what it was like to fly the Space Shuttle. It also contains a very moving personal account of the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger." —Robert L. Crippen, Captain, USN (Ret.) , former naval aviator, test pilot, NASA astronaut, and pilot of first orbital flight of the Space Shuttle
"Casper tells a thorough, and interesting, story of his life in The Sky Above, including the setbacks he encountered along the way and, as the subtitle suggests, how his religious faith offered guidance through difficult times. It illustrates, among other things, how active the shuttle program was in the era when he was an astronaut, but how that activity could mask, or even lead to, deeper problems down the road." —The Space Review
"The Sky Above fills several gaps in the record of the Shuttle program and of astronaut life. The author represents the second generation of pilot astronauts, whose experiences before and during their times at NASA differ from the first generation of astronauts. This is a well-written book that takes the reader along for the ride in the cockpits of many aircraft, including many we don't associate with test piloting, and onto the flight deck of the Shuttle for an enjoyable ride." —Quest
"John Casper tells how he achieved his 'American Dream' of flying in space through hard work and determination, and faith in his God. His stories are real, engaging, and instructive in how to achieve personal goals." —Jerry L. Ross, former astronaut, veteran of seven Space Shuttle missions, and author of Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA's Record-Setting Frequent Flyer