A book of this size and scope is never the result of a single person's effort. Creating a history of a space center takes almost as many people as building a spacecraft itself.
First and foremost, I am indebted to the tremendous number of talented, bright and accomplished people who took the time to share their memories, notes, and knowledge with me, sometimes patiently going over topics numerous times until I understood the science behind the spacecraft and the technology behind the accomplishments. In the end, the history of any organization is the history of its people, and I could not have told that story without the help of the people who had lived it first-hand, in the trenches. If I ever wondered how the United States managed to accomplish so much in a field as difficult as space exploration, the drive and enthusiasm I found among the people at Goddard has given me my answer.
I am also extremely grateful to the staff of the public affairs office, who welcomed me into their midst, found me a place to work even when there wasn't one, helped me track down people and places to interview them, and always had a spare smile for me when I walked in the door. Michelle Jackson, Kisha Wright, Nakia Reams, Jan Ruff, Mark Hess, and Diann Harwood helped make the daunting challenge of this project manageable.
My thanks to Jane Riddle, Chang Yao and Jim Sahli, as well, who helped me find launch histories and other research documents to supplement the oral histories I got from the people I interviewed. Special thanks to Terri Randall whose careful attention to detail in editing and proofreading the book was invaluable. Louise Alstork also deserves thanks for undertaking the task of creating the book's index.
In addition, I am indebted to the numerous people, including George Pieper, John Naugle, Roger Launius, Dick Stock, Bill O'Leary, Bill Bandeen, Steve Maran, Orlando Figueroa, Vince Salomonson, Tony Busalacchi, Mark Schoeberl, John Mather, Yoji Kondo, Rick Obenschain, Darrel Williams, Tom Huber, Al Diaz and Jan Ruff who volunteered to read drafts of the manuscript, offering technical accuracy checks and many helpful suggestions.
 The beautiful photos that illustrate this book were also a product of numerous people's efforts. My thanks to Bill O'Leary, Keith Koehler, Yoji Kondo, Ann Jenkins, Barbara Summey, Padi Boyd, Mike Carlowicz, Jim Eckles, Pat Rader, Mark deBord and especially Carol Ladd for helping to find the images that grace these pages. I also need to thank Carol Ladd and Mona Kiely for turning mere words into a beautiful work of art with their wonderful flair for graphic design and layout.
The production of this book involved many other people, as well. There are many I didn't meet or talk to, but their efforts are evident on every page, and I am grateful to each and every one of them. I also owe a special thanks to Jan Ruff, who was as much of a coach, cheerleader and trouble-shooter as she was a contract supervisor. Her guidance, support, perspective and wonderful ability to still laugh at it all were all truly invaluable gifts.
In the end, however, my greatest debt is to the thousands of people who have worked for Goddard and its contractors over the years. Without their efforts and sacrifices-the late nights, early mornings, lost weekends, lost sleep-and their willingness to endure whatever frustration, setbacks, and problems stood between them and success- there would have been no story to tell. I offer all of you not only my thanks, but my greatest admiration and respect.