Our man on the ground
Space fans are probably already familiar with Jay Barbree's work, either from his years as an NBC radio and TV reporter or through Moon Shot (1994), his collaboration with Mercury 7 astronaut Deke Slayton. Early in his broadcast career, a top man told Barbree to build himself a small empire as the man who knew the answers to all questions about space flight. He shares the results in the entertaining and candid Live from Cape Canaveral: Covering the Space Race, from Sputnik to Today. Along with anecdotes worthy of The Right Stuff, Barbree offers glimpses into pioneering television coverage (the first mobile unit, the first live broadcast of a launch), accounts of space milestones, and personal recollections such as Christmas Eve dinner in a hotel coffee shop (while covering Apollo 8), made less dismal when John Glenn walked in. Though cozy with several generations of astronauts, Barbree's news sense remained acute, allowing him to score scoops like the O-ring connection to the space shuttle Challenger explosion and NASA's surprised we're asleep reaction to Gagarin's flight. Even after suffering sudden death while jogging 20 years ago (he was revived after a heart attack), Barbree is still on the job and hasn't missed a launch yet.