"Live from Cape Canaveral"

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Some fifty years ago, while a cub reporter, Jay Barbree caught space fever the night that Sputnik passed over Georgia. He moved to the then-sleepy village of Cocoa Beach, Florida, right outside Cape Canaveral, and began reporting on rockets that fizzled as often as they soared. In "Live from Cape Canaveral," Barbree—the only reporter who has covered every mission flown by astronauts—offers his unique perspective on the space program. He shares affectionate portraits of astronauts as well as some of his fellow journalists and tells some very funny behind-the-scenes stories—many involving astronaut pranks. Barbree also shows how much the space program and its press coverage have changed over time. Warm and perceptive, he reminds us just how thrilling the great moments of the space race were and why America fell in love with its heroic, sometimes larger-than-life astronauts.

Curriculet Details
75 Questions
86 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum designed for 9th and 10th grade students contains interactive videos exploring topics such as symbolism, imagery, and forms of figurative language. In addition, you will find annotations describing personification, conflict, as well as rhetorical devices which encourage students to dig deeper into elements such as context and author's purpose among others. Students will explore historical events such as the significance of Sputnik, Apollo 13's journey and the Challenger disaster. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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A preface is an introduction to a book or other literary work, typically introducing the subject or the aim of the book. It is often, though not always, written by the author of the book. In this case, Tom Brokaw is a well-known American news anchor, author, and editor: someone whose opinion on the subject would be respected. 
Left click a word with your mouse or press a word with your finger for a second to use the define feature or add your own annotations. (When a given definition does not seem to fit the context of the reading, then you will want to use the "search Wikipedia or Google this word" option within the "define" feature in order to explore other definitions.)  

ONE: Sputnik

Kazakhstan, Soviet Union: The facility and supporting town of Baikonu were originally built in the mid-1950s as a long-range-missile centre, which was later expanded to include spaceflight facilities. Several historic flights originated there.  (This annotation contains an image)
Redstone arsenal: originally a chemical weapons manufacturing facility for World War II, the arsenal became the focal point of the Army’s rocket and space projects, including development of the first U.S. ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles in the 1950s. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the deeper implication of Colonel Gibbs' decision? 
Sergei Korolev, the engineer behind the 184-pound Soviet Sputnik satellite, was not credited by name until after his death. Photo credit: Courtesy NASA (This annotation contains an image)
The Moscow radio reported having launched a ______. 
A war correspondent is a journalist whose reporting required him to get as close to the frontline action as possible. This very likely gave Beatty an advantage in understanding the far reaching implications of this Earth-orbiting capability: during WWII he would have observed that the country with the best technology would be the victor. 
The circumstances surrounding the rush to complete Sputnik 2 meant that the Russian team had no time to create a re-entry plan for Laika. Though the details are still debated, it is known that the three-year-old, thirteen-pound stray-turned-astronaut died in space sometime between reaching orbit and the sixth day when Sputnik 2 lost battery power and all life systems failed.  
Eisenhower is being compared to the notorious Roman Emperor Nero (54-68 AD) acccused by many of causing the Great Fire of Rome (64 AD) and is said to have "fiddled (played or sang) while Rome burned." Based on the reading, what is most likely the cause for Americans being livid? 
The author used figurative language when describing the satellite. Please watch this short video below to learn more about figurative language. (This annotation contains a video)
Which event would have led Charles Wilson to not attend the celebratory dinner at the White House? 
The Cold War era  

TWO: The Early Days

The video linked below provides two angles of Vanguard's failure to launch. The tone of the nation can practically be heard in the choice of background music for the 1957 news clip.  (This annotation contains a video)
CIA and spies are sometimes called "spooks." 
Why was Project Score held in such secrecy? 
Listen to President Eisenhower's pre-recorded message, the world's first radio broadcast from space. (This annotation contains a video)
Explain why it would be significant that NBC was the only media company that had film of the event.  
The image below is a bird's eye view of the launch pads and gantries of Missile Row, Cape Canaveral circa 1960. (This annotation contains an image)
Why did the ME-108 raise many eyebrows at airports? 
It seems that the author is more interested in the story than the well-being of the people involved. It's almost as though we expected him to be disappointed that there were no injuries.  

THREE: The Astronauts

What does the author mean when he says, "It was quick and dirty?" 
In August 1959, the Mercury Seven and their wives signed a contract with Life magazine for $500,000 in exchange for exclusive access to their private lives, homes, and families. In several written accounts, the wives describe the scrutiny under which they lived while their husbands made history.  
The author uses informal language throughout the book suggesting his familial relationship with both the people and the events. Here we see that the author feels that his connection to the space crew set him apart from most.  
The author describes the astronauts as being pranksters. What is the author's purpose in drawing our attention to this detail? 
The sentence begins, "We reporters were kept in the dark..."  Which of the following interpretations does not have the same meaning? 
"To a man" is an expression which means "unanimously."  
According to the author, what made the astronauts feel less than human? 
Monkeys, dogs, cats, mice, spiders, plants, and microorganisms are among the lesser known biological test subjects to have been subjected to space travel.  
The author suggests that Elvis's name change to Patti was in order to cause no offense. This suggests that 

FOUR: First in Space

The author makes note of the time in Moscow, New York, and local time. He states, "America slept." The author is likely insinuating that 
The author continues to make use of an informal style of writing by referencing popular culture. Several books, plays, and movies have been printed entitled Around the World in Eighty Days.  (This annotation contains an image)
This short trailer, First Orbit, shows 27-year-old Gagarin making the historic journey to where no man had ever been. (This annotation contains a video)
It appears as though the author is downplaying the significance of being first in space. It's hard to believe that his words would remain the same had an American claimed first in the space race.  
What caused Williams to "scrub" the launch? 
Freedom 7 is the small one-man capsule at the top of the rocket shown below (This annotation contains an image)
The highlighted phrase is an example of which type of figurative language? 
Based on Louise Shepard's own words, how does she feel about her husband entering space? 
Reading these words might confuse the reader as to whom these thoughts belong. It seems, at times, that the author places himself in the action of the astronauts, almost living vicariously through their stories.  
Why was Shepard cursing? 
Remember back to Ham's recovery mission. They found him nearly drowned in his less-than-impervious tomb of a capsule. 
Refer to this video, titled "Alan Shepard Freedom 7: May 5, 1961," while responding to the question at the end of this chapter.  (This annotation contains a video)
Explain the timeline of events using both the author's account of Shepard's historical flight in Freedom Seven, as well as the video linked in the annotation above. Include details from both media accounts.  

FIVE: John Glenn

John F. Kennedy addresses Congress about landing a man on the moon.  (This annotation contains a video)
The way O'Malley speaks to his team shows that he is very ___________. 
This begs the question: where were the animal rights' activists? 
When the author alludes to America's lost prestige, he is making a reference to Russia beating America to space. 
If flight controllers do not address the Segment 51 warning, what will happen to John Glenn? 
The author continues to develop an image of utter devotion to the brotherhood of astronauts. It may be difficult for those born after the 1970's to understand the marvel of space flight. In the beginning, there was only an elite few in the entire history of the world who had shared these phenomenal experiences.  
In the highlighted selection, what suggests that the author is speaking of a time long ago? 

SIX: On Orbit

Fast forward to July 2009 when Johnson Space Center reports, "We know that astronauts lose heart mass and exercise capacity when they're in microgravity for a long time. We suspect that this could lead to impaired heart function, which could cause low blood pressure and even fainting when astronauts get back to gravity." Definitely an undesirable event during reentry into Earth's atmosphere.  
Mercury Control was concerned that 
The highlighted text is an example of which type of figurative language? 
The author characterizes Deke as highly competent and a leader of men. 
How does the author characterize Gordo Cooper when writing about his response to prejudice? 
The video below describes different types of imagery found in writing. The author makes use of imagery throughout the entire text.  (This annotation contains a video)
The author's choice of words here creates a sense of great suspense when he contrasts the chaos of losing power in the wide expanse of space with the controlled precision needed to maneuver through a microscopic entry point.  
When Slayton tells Gordo that he had done the best stick-and-ruuder job ever, what does he mean? 

SEVEN: The Worst of Times

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was fatally shot by a sniper while traveling with his wife Jacqueline, Texas Governor John Connally, and Connally's wife Nellie, in a presidential motorcade. A ten-month investigation from November 1963 to September 1964 by the Warren Commission concluded that Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, and that Jack Ruby also acted alone when he killed Oswald before he could stand trial. 
Why would the author struggle to do his best to perform his journalistic duties ethically? 
Andrew Jackson Young is an American politician, diplomat, activist and pastor from Georgia.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why were Allan Shepard's wings pulled? 

EIGHT: Gemini

In the image below, you can see the Gemini 3 being retrieved from the ocean. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does the author make it a point to mention Young's high-skilled pranks? Support your response with textual evidence. 
Below is an image of the first space walk that took place in 1965. (This annotation contains an image)
According to the text, how did Ed White describe his space walk? 
Scott made his third and final flight into space as commander of the Apollo 15 mission, the fourth human lunar landing, becoming the seventh person to walk on the Moon and the first person to drive on the moon. (This annotation contains an image)
How did Neil Armstrong regain control of Gemini 8? 
In the highlighted text, the author once again uses figurative language for descriptive purposes. Please view the video below for an explanation of hyperbole. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following from the text is an example of direct characterization? 

NINE: “I’ve got a fire in the cockpit!”

Virgil Ivan Grissom, better known as Gus Grissom, was one of the original NASA Project Mercury astronauts, test pilot, mechanical engineer, and a United States Air Force pilot.  
The highlighted text would be an example of which type of conflict? 
This is to say that most reporters weren't giving the astronaut's concerns their attention. The reference to Watergate seems to suggest that investigative reporting, such as that which led to the impeachment of former US President Nixon, was not taken seriously. Following the breaking news of the Watergate scandal, media's power over public image became a viable issue. At the same time the public image of reporters grew to accept that they do not just report the facts, but can also question information, flexing their muscles to incite change in policy and even personnel. Is he suggesting that had the Watergate scandal occurred years earlier that the Apollo tragedy could have been avoided?  
According to the author, why was the level of pure oxygen on the Apollo a problem? 
It seems apparent in the dialogue that the astronauts were more than just colleagues; they were close friends or even like brothers. 
Chaffee, White, and Grissom training in a simulator of their Command Module cabin, January 1967. (This annotation contains an image)
What was the cause of the fire that killed Apollo 1 astronauts Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffey, and Ed White? 
If this is considered roomy, can you imagine how cramped the early flights must have been? (This annotation contains an image)
Cape Canaveral Quiz #1: Chapters 1-9 

TEN: A Christmas Moon

Below is the break down of the Saturn V in each of its stages. (This annotation contains an image)
Why was Lev Kamanin unhappy about the flight to the moon? 
What does Lovell find awe-inspiring about the backside of the moon? 
The author is, at times, critical of NASA, but he does accurately describe all the work and prep that goes into space travel. 

ELEVEN: The Secret Side of Space

According to the author, why was the Russian space program unraveling? 
In the image below, you can see the massive explosion of N-1. (This annotation contains an image)

TWELVE: Highway to the Moon

It's clear from the highlighted conversation that the astronauts shared a special bond. 
What was the first stage in dismembering Snoopy? 
The author uses brief sentences on this page to help recreate the excitement of the event that he is writing about. 
The author describes Apollo 11's Saturn V almost like the space ship is a character; why would he want to characterize it? 

THIRTEEN: The Landing

The landing craft is pictured below. Neil Armstrong took his famous steps down from the Eagle before touching the moon's surface. (This annotation contains an image)
Why was Mission Control thick with tension? 
Even though the events described in this book have already taken place, the author still creates excitement through his vivid imagery. 
Which word best describes the tone as the author describes Eagle's descent to the moon? 


The video below shows this historic flight and Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon. (This annotation contains a video)
Neil Armstrong uses __________ to compare the moon's surface to powdered charcoal. 
The picture on this page seems to indicate that Japan's fascination with American celebrities is not a recent phenomena. 
Why was the author doubtful that Apollo 12 would ever reach the moon? 

FIFTEEN: The Successful Failure

"Houston we have a problem!" This declaration is probably the most famous quote in U.S. space travel history. Actually, the author should not have used an exclamation point because the captain of the Apollo 13 was very calm when he made this statement. 
Explain why the author starts the paragraph with such a short sentence. 
In the highlighted text, it seems like the author is making light of the very serious circumstances surrounding Apollo 13's condition. 
Why was Apollo 13 not able to rely on its space sextant for proper flight-course alignment? 
The astronauts that were former military pilots all seem to have strong relationships with each other. The reader must wonder if this still held true as more and more astronauts came from science backgrounds.  
The highlighted text contains which type of figurative language? 

SIXTEEN: On the Moon

Shepard became the fifth and oldest person to walk on the Moon, and the only astronaut of the Mercury Seven to walk on the Moon. During the mission, he hit two golf balls on the lunar surface. (This annotation contains an image)
Why was Ed Mitchell a new breed of astronaut? 
The highlighted exchange between Shepard and Mitchell is a clear illustration of their brotherhood. 
Shepard's statement to Mitchell shows that he is ____________. 
The rock pictured below was one of the moon rocks retrieved during Apollo 16's mission. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the author describe the moon in its earliest stage? 

SEVENTEEN: After the Moon

It seems a little disparaging for the author to allude to President Carter as a peanut farmer rather than by name. He appears a little bitter about how his election corresponded with the decline of the space program. 
The author's description in the highlighted text can be described as _________ reporting. 

EIGHTEEN: A Handshake in Space

Here again, the author is depicting one of the male astronauts as a cowboy rather than a skilled pilot. 
Use the define feature to derive the meaning of the word loquacious; how is the author characterizing Deke? 
Cape Canaveral Quiz #2: Chapters 10-18 
In the highlighted text, the dark clouds symbolize the author's uncertain future. Please see the video below for a more detailed explanation of symbolism.  (This annotation contains a video)

NINETEEN: Down Home with Jimmy Carter

The orgin of this saying was actually coined in 1897. It evolved from "more days, more dollars" to "another day, another dollar." It refers to another normal or uneventful day at work. 
What information from the text about the author implies that he is not good looking? 

TWENTY: The Space Shuttle Era

The author seems to be implying that Crippen was reckless when he describes his truck. It's interesting that NASA would choose such a person to be around their expensive equipment. 
When the author describes the engines as screaming, he is using ____________ to help the reader imagine the lift off. 
Sally Kristen Ride was an American physicist and astronaut. Born in Los Angeles, Ride joined NASA in 1978 and, at the age of 32, became the first American woman in space. After flying twice on the space shuttle Challenger, she left NASA in 1987.  
Why did Reagan choose a teacher to be the first citizen to travel to space? 

TWENTY-ONE: Challenger : A Disaster

The author seems to be setting the stage for what's to come when he describes the bone chilling cold that hit Kennedy Space Center shortly before the Challenger's scheduled launch. 
The author uses _________ to describe the Challenger shortly before lift off. 
The figurative language and diction used in the highlighted paragraph really allows the reader to picture the event clearly in his mind. 
According to the author, what was the death warrant that took place during rocket ignition? 
It's eerie to read the comments of the crew and know what their last words were especially when they had no idea that those would be their last moments alive. 

TWENTY-TWO: What Happened?

Describe the sequence of events that caused the disintegration of the fuel tank. Include specific details from the text. 
Baby Boomers will often mention Kennedy's assassination as the single event that everybody remembers. For Generation X, that event was the Challenger disaster. 
Why did the author start to feel good despite the Challenger tragedy? 
Who determines acceptable risk? Certainly not the families of the flight crew. 
The brief exchanges between the author and Sam Bedddingfield show that the writer is ________. 
The highlighted text illustrates the internal conflict that the author was experiencing when he had to decide what to do with the biggest story of his life. 
Explain why the author feels that he was not nominated for any journalist awards for breaking the Challenger story?  Support your response with textual evidence. 

TWENTY-THREE: An Eternity of Descent

It's extraordinary that the crew could survive the ship breaking up into small pieces, but at least, they were unconscious when they struck the ocean. (This annotation contains an image)
How were the astronauts able to have lived through the explosion? Support your response with evidence from the text. 

TWENTY-FOUR: Sudden Death

The author might be hinting at a future health concern when he describes himself as aging 16 years in a 16 month span. 
Hyaline membrane disease (HMD), also called respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), is a condition that causes babies to need extra oxygen and help breathing. HMD is one of the most common problems seen in premature babies (Hyland is a typo). 
How did the author know that his son had already died? 
According to the American Heart Association, early CPR and defibrillation combined with early advanced emergency care can increase survival rates for people with a type of abnormal heart beat called ventricular fibrillation by as much as 40%. 
How does the author characterize the emergency workers when he describes them leaping into action? 
People that have died and then been revived often talk about seeing a light or being drawn towards a light before being pulled away from it. 
A never-ending universe prompts the author to think of_______. 
When describing his wedding the author uses _______. 
It was important for NASA to choose a commander that could help repair their image after the Challenger disaster. 

TWENTY-FIVE: How High Is Up?

The author's detailed description of the launch allows the reader to picture it in his mind; this is an example of which literary device? 
This may sound cynical, but you have to wonder if the tribute to the Challenger was genuine or a public relations stunt. 
Explain why the author felt that the mission to repair Hubble benefited NASA? Include evidence that relates to the author's claim. 
The image below shows the astronauts from Endeavor repairing the crippled telescope. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does the author write so many questions in the highlighted paragraph? 

TWENTY-SIX: As the Century Turned

Below notice the features of the space station Skylab. (This annotation contains an image)
According to the author, what happened to the Mir model? 
It appears that NASA was motivated by self interest when they decided to let John Glenn return to space. 
The author's tone in the highlighted text can best be described as __________. 
All the successful flights that took place following The Challenger may have led to a sense of complacency among NASA's senior personnel. 
Columbia's description prior to its launch could be an example of which literary device. 

TWENTY-SEVEN: Columbia : Had They Only Looked

The author's characterization of NASA's senior management seems to show his bias. We have to wonder if he would describe them this way if Columbia's flight had been a success. 
The author uses a ________ to describe Columbia's reentry into Earth's atmosphere. 
The image below shows Columbia as it came apart during reentry. (This annotation contains an image)
Describe the findings from the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. 

TWENTY-EIGHT: That’s a Wrap!

Eileen Marie Collins is a former military instructor and test pilot, Collins was the first female pilot and first female commander of a Space Shuttle.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why was another year of fix-it work necessary before Discovery could take her next flight? Support your answer with textual evidence. 
The author compares the earth to a space ship to make his point that the earth requires upkeep for sustainability . 
The highlighted text is an example of which type of figurative language? 
Cape Canavaral Quiz #3: Chapters 19-28