Homer H. Hickam Jr. was born 67 years ago today, and whether you’re a hands-on tinkering type of geek or the sort who likes to journey skyward on imagination, there’s no good reason whatsoever you shouldn’t be checking out this former NASA engineer’s work.
Hickam’s best known for Rocket Boys, his autobiographical novel about coming of age in the mountain town of Coalwood, West Virginia, surrounded by the mining life and, oh yeah, building rockets that shot six freaking miles into the air. Honestly, it’s pretty tough to overstate the awesomeness of this story, in which Homer and his friends make it onto the national science stage through a crazy amount of determination, self-teaching and trial and error.
He’s done a ton of writing over the years and maintains a blog where he’ll share the occasional piece of fiction or a letter regarding the space program’s future, and coming up on March 2, he’ll release a new book, My Dream of Stars, co-written with Iranian-born astronaut Anousheh Ansari.
Happy birthday, Homer: Thanks for the continuous supply of rocket fuel.