Download Chasing Space: An Astronaut's Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances Audiobook

Chasing Space: An Astronauts Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances Audiobook, by Leland Melvin Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Leland Melvin Narrator: Ron Butler Publisher: HarperAudio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2017 ISBN: 9780062675071
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[Leland] shows us how he made the best of every opportunity and every setback on his way from his hometown to outer space.”

    Bill Nye, New York Times bestselling author and CEO of the Planetary Society

  • “Ron Butler’s narration is both understated yet focused, which is the right tone for African-American astronaut Leland Melvin’s memoir. Butler’s voice takes the listener through Melvin’s amazing journey of accomplishment…Throughout, Butler captures Melvin’s determined and hard-working tone, as well as his appreciation for those who helped give him perspective and support.”


  • “Melvin demonstrates impressive humility and depth of character as he discusses overcoming myriad setbacks…Melvin writes honestly about his mistakes as well as his triumphs, urging readers to pursue their dreams with determination and hard work.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Leland Melvin snuck his rescue dogs into his official NASA portrait, and I feel like that’s all the background information you really need to make the decision to pick up this book.”


  • “The author makes his seemingly larger-than-life experiences relatable to readers, emphasizing how his hard work and confidence were crucial to his success. Young athletes will especially appreciate the discussion of how a sports team can act as an extended family, and Melvin’s account of the difficulties he encountered as an African American man in an often predominantly white setting will resonate with teens.”

    School Library Journal

  • “Second chances played a key role in Melvin’s ability to overcome obstacles and achieve his many dreams, and he’ll have readers wondering how many chances it would take them to do the same.”


  • “Leland has helped me connect to the Universe I searched for so long since being a kid…And now he will take you, too, on a journey.”

    Pharrell Williams, singer, songwriter, and producer

  • A School Library Journal Top Pick of Adult Books 4 Teens

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About the Author

Leland Melvin is an engineer, NASA astronaut, and a former wide receiver for the Detroit Lions. He served on the Space Shuttle Atlantis as a mission specialist and was named the NASA Associate Administrator for Education in October 2010. He also served as the cochair on the White House’s Federal Coordination in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Task Force, developing the nation’s five-year STEM education plan. He is the host of the Lifetime show Child Genius and a judge for ABC’s Battlebots. He holds four honorary doctorates, and has received the NFL Players Association Award of Excellence. He lives in Lynchburg, Virginia.

About the Narrator

Ron Butler is a Los Angeles–based actor, Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator, and voice artist with over a hundred film and television credits. Most kids will recognize him from the three seasons he spent on Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, VP. He works regularly as a commercial and animation voice-over artist and has voiced a wide variety of audiobooks. He is a member of the Atlantic Theater Company and an Independent Filmmaker Project Award winner for his work in the HBO film Everyday People.