Calhoun Book Club Welcomes “Back to the Moon” Co-Authors


Calhoun Community College’s Books 101 student club will welcome authors Les Johnson and Travis Shane Taylor for a special presentation and discussion of their book, Back to the Moon, November 6, 2012, 6:00 pm, in the Student Center at the college’s Huntsville Campus located at 102 Wynn Drive in Cummings Research Park.

The authors will addres student questions and comments concerning their work as rocket scientists, their research, their experiences experimenting all over the world, and discovering.   The book Back to the Moon is available in the bookstore on the Huntsville campus and also direct from the Baen Books website:

Taylor, better known to his fans as “Doc Travis”, is the star and associate producer of the hit National Geographic Channel’s Rocket City Rednecks.  A born and bred southerner, he currently resides just outside Huntsville.  Taylor has a doctorate in Optical Science and Engineering, a doctorate in Aerospace Systems Engineering, a master’s in Physics, and a master’s in Aerospace Engineering, all from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.  He also holds a master’s degree in Astronomy from the Univ. of Western Sydney, a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University, and is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Alabama.
Taylor has worked on various programs for the Department of Defense and NASA for the past twenty years.  He has published over 25 papers and the appendix on solar sailing in the 2nd edition of Deep Space Probes by Greg Matloff.  He is the author of the text, Introduction to Rocket Science and Engineering by CRCPress and has written or co-written over 14 science fiction novels.
In addition to his work on Rocket City Rednecks, he has appeared on several episodes of The History Channel show The Universe and is a regular on Life After People.  He is currently working on several novels, textbooks, as well as different television and movie projects

Johnson is the co-author of two science fiction and three popular science books.  In June, Baen Books released his latest science fiction project, Going Interstellar -- a collection of original short stories and science fact essays describing how an interstellar voyage might actually occur.  In his day job, Johnson is the Deputy Manager for NASA’s Advanced Concepts Office at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center. 

He is the co-author of three published popular science books, Living Off the Land in Space (Springer/Copernicus 2007), the 2008 PROSE Award finalist, Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel (Springer/Copernicus 2008), and Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth (Springer/Copernicus 2009).  While at NASA, Les managed NASA’s Interstellar Propulsion Research Project, the In-Space Propulsion Technology Program, and the Science  Programs & Projects Office at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. 

Johnson earned his master’s degree from Vanderbilt University in his Bachelor’s Degree from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY.  He has numerous peer-reviewed publications and was published in Analog.  He has been a frequent contributor to the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society and a member of the National Space Society, The World Future Society, and MENSA.

Calhoun’s Books 101 is a student -led book discussion club sponsored by the college’s Language and Literature Department.  For more information about the author reading or the organization, contact Faculty sponsors Parvathy Bhooshanan ( or Lisa Callihan (


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