Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Awards

New 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." 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


  • 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) 
  • 2008 - Digital Apollo - Human and Machines in Spaceflight (The MIT Press) by David A. Mindell 
  • 2007 - Von 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 
  • 2005 - First Man - The Life of Neil A. Armstrong (Simon & Schuster) by James R. Hansen 
  • 2004 - Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: America's First Women in Space Program (The Johns Hopkins University Press) by Margaret Weitekamp 
  • 2003 - Leaving Earth: Space Stations, Rival Superpowers, and the Quest for Interpanetary Travel (Joseph Henry Press) by Robert Zimmerman 
  • 2002 - The Secret of Apollo: Systems Management in American and European Space Programs (The Johns Hopkins University Press) by Stephen B. Johnson 
  • 2001 - Moon Lander - How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module (Smithsonian Institution Press) by Thomas J. Kelly 
  • 2000 - Challenge to Apollo - The Soviet Union and the Space Race 1945 - 1974 (NASA) by Asif A. Siddiqi 
  • 1999 - America's Space Sentinels: DSP Satellites and National Security (University Press of Kansas) by Jeffrey T. Richelson 
  • 1998 - This New Ocean - The Story of the First Space Age (Random House) by William E. Burrows 
  • 1997 - Space and the American Imagination (Smithsonian Institution Press) by Howard E. McCurdy 
  • 1996 - Blind Watchers of the Sky - The People and Ideas that Shaped Our View of the Universe (Addison-Wesley) by Rocky Kolb 
  • 1995 - Spaceflight Revolution: NASA Langley Research Center from Sputnik to Apollo (NASA) by James R. Hansen
  • 1994 - International Cooperation in Space: The Example of the European Space Agency (Harvard University Press) by Roger M. Bonnet and Vittorio Manno 
  • 1993 - The Sputnik Challenge: Eisenhower's Response to the Soviet Satellite (Oxford University Press) by Robert A. Divine 
  • 1992 - Blueprint for Space: From Science Fiction to Science Fact (Smithsonian Institution Press) by Frederick I. Ordway and Randy Liebermann 
  • 1991 - Exploring the Sun: Solar Science Since Galileo (The Johns Hopkins University Press) by Karl Hufbauer 
  • 1990 - The Home Planet (Addison-Wesley) by Kevin W. Kelley 
  • 1989 - Journey Into Space: The First Thirty Years of Space Exploration by (W.W. Norton & Company) by Bruce C. Murray 
  • 1988 - No Award Given 
  • 1987 - Before Lift Off (The Johns Hopkins University Press) by Henry S.F. Cooper, Jr. 
  • 1986 - Pioneering the Space Frontier Report of the National Commission on Space (Bantam Books)
  • 1985 - Beachheads in Space (Scribner) by Jerry Grey 
  • 1984 - 2010: Odyssey Two (Del Rey) by Arthur C. Clarke 
  • 1983 - Global Talk (Sijthoff & Noordhoff) by Joseph N. Pelton