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Summary

In this moving, inspirational memoir, a former NASA astronaut and NFL wide receiver shares his personal journey from the gridiron to the stars, examining the intersecting roles of community, perseverance, and grace that align to create the opportunities for success.

Leland Melvin is the only person in human history to catch a pass in the National Football League and in space. Though his path from the gridiron to the heavens was riddled with setbacks and injury, Leland persevered to reach the stars.

While training with NASA, Melvin suffered a severe injury that left him deaf. Leland was relegated to earthbound assignments but chose to remain and support his astronaut family. His loyalty paid off. Recovering partial hearing, he earned his eligibility for space travel. He served as mission specialist for two flights aboard the shuttle Atlantis, working on the International Space Station.

In this inspirational memoir, the former NASA astronaut and professional athlete offers an examination of the intersecting role of community, perseverance, and grace that align to shape our opportunities and outcomes. Chasing Space is not the story of one man but the story of many men, women, scientists, and mentors who helped him defy the odds and live out an uncommon destiny.

As a chemist, athlete, engineer, and space traveler, Leland's life story is a study in the science of achievement. His personal insights illuminate how grit and grace are the keys to overcoming adversity and rising to success.

©2017 Leland Melvin (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Chasing Space

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Insightful

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

This is not a story about an Astronaut,
this is a story about a Black Astronaut.

I was quite shocked how in this day and age somebody is still segmenting and differentiating themselves and their achievements based upon the colour of their skin.

Would you recommend Chasing Space to your friends? Why or why not?

Not really.
This guy has led one of the most interesting and exciting lives,
but if you were to replace every occurrence of the word black, with the word green,
it would soon becoming an awkward read.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-03-18

Fantastic read!

Leland’s story kept me wanting to hear more. I loved learning all about his NASA experiences and the technical side of everything. The most admirable qualities of Leland as evident in his writing is his passion for discovery, his authenticity, patience and sheer brilliance. Not only was his delivery easy to follow but I felt like I was getting to know Leland personally through his sharing. My favorite moments are when he speaks about his relationship with his parents and feathers in his faith; both he acknowledges have shaped him into the man he is today. I will recommend this book to many!!! Susan

1 person found this helpful

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  • j-rich
  • 10-07-21

Enjoyable

Would've liked more stories about his time in space but really interesting background and time-line.

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  • Orrin Ingram
  • 22-02-21

Wow

Lots of details that are so unreal! Going to space seems impossible but this story makes it tangible. Nothing is easy for anyone but keeping your mind on track can make things seem like they're easier for sure!

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  • tcelestine
  • 04-02-21

Dry

Not entirely sure if it was just narration or story, but it was incredibly dry.

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  • mr kieran j murphy
  • 24-01-21

good but there are better

i habe listened to a number of autobiographies by astronauts and this is a good one, but there are better ones out there.

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  • Seamripper
  • 19-01-21

Wonderful insight!

As someone who is heavily involved in astronomy and space flight outreach, I have been watching Leland's journey for some time with awe and excitement. This book gives a wonderful behind the scenes look into his life with a few twists that make you want to reach out and hug him.

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  • Danielle Robertson Rath | GreenEyedGuide
  • 12-10-20

Read This After Col Chris Hadfield's Book

This is a great read by itself but I especially enjoyed hearing Leland's experience at NASA after finishing the book by Col. Chris Hadfield, "An Astronauts' Guide to Life on Earth". It's fascinating to compare and contrast two experiences.

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  • Jim
  • 21-08-20

Not your usual astronaut memoir!

Melvin tells a real life and compelling tale that many will be able to identify with. the story is well told, fascinating, and well performed. A great read that I highly recommend.

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  • Mindy
  • 04-06-20

CHASING SPACE IS A MUST READ!!!!!

CHASING SPACE IS A MUST READ!!!!!
Inspirational, heartwarming, informational & exciting!
Astronaut and educator Leland Melvin shares it all!
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS AMAZING BOOK!

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  • B.A. Lopez
  • 11-01-20

A Must Listen to for any Space Enthusiast!

Leland Melvin is not your typical astronaut. And that makes his story all the more inspiring and interesting.

I had heard of Leland before and even worked at NASA during part of his tenure but I had no idea of his incredible background. Leland tells not just the good but the not so good parts of his personal and professional life. His grit and determination show how hard work and the refusal to give up can help anyone to succeed.

His willingness to address his sexual assault as a young child and instances of racial prejudice shows the worst of humanity. The way he dealt with every challenge and completely rose above it all gives humanity its greatest hope. Despite all our imperfections as humans, there are, and will always be good people, to keep pushing us forward for the better of all.

I just wish he had recorded his own audio! The narrator was good but it would have been nice to hear his own story in his own voice.