In The Red Rockets' Glare: Spaceflight and the Soviet Imagination, 1857-1957 (Cambridge University Press, 2013), Asif Siddiqi approaches the history of the Soviet space program as a combination of engineering and imagination, both necessary to achieve the launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1957. Beginning in the late 19th century, Siddiqi demonstrates that a popular fascination with space travel and amateurs engaged popular science were the driving forces behind the development of technologies that led to the Soviet space program. From the writings of Konstatin Tsiolkovsky to space exhibitions in the 1920s to Sergei Korolev's pioneering work, Siddiqi challenges established Soviet narratives of the space program's history.
Asif Siddiqi is Professor of History at Fordham University. The Red Rockets Glare was first published in 2010 and came out in paperback in 2013.