American Astrophilately

Steve Durst U.S. Space History

Steve Durst
Project Mercury Points the Way
(305 pgs) Includes CD-ROM.
Project Gemini Sets the Pace
(351 pgs) Includes CD-ROM.
Apollo Walks on the Moon: Vol. 1 & 2
(two books, more than 600 pgs)
Includes CD-ROM.
Complete Four-Volume Set!
More than 1200 pgs!
Includes CD-ROM.
Steve Durst's first interest in space was a result of a three-inch reflecting telescope his Mom and Dad had given him and his three brothers while he was in middle school in Edmonds, Washington. The telescope was easy enough to use for someone starting out in astronomy and with his brothers, they quickly mastered using their reflector telescope to see the sunspots on the Sun, the Moon's rugged craters and lunar terrain, the Moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, and the Great Nebula in the Constellation Orion.

In college a few years later on a U.S. Navy scholarship as a Midshipman in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, he requested orders to Guided Missile Destroyer, USS Benjamin Stoddard, DDG-22, assigned to the USS Hornet, CVS-12's Task Force in Micronesia. Steve wanted to be part of the first Apollo orbital spaceflight, AS-203, recovery team. Assigned to the DDG's Operations Department, Steve was on watch in the Operations Command and Control Center and in awe as the Apollo spacecraft went through its reentry from space back to Earth blazing red hot streaking over their ship in Micronesia and continuing another thousand miles splashing down near Hawaii for recovery by the USS Hornet. USS Hornet in four more years would become the primary recovery ship for NASA's Apollo 11 mission, recovering astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins after their successful lunar mission.

Space for Steve had always been a thrill. It would be hard to find a Navy job more exciting than this early entry into space for him. Subsequent tours of duty on Navy ships included Gunnery Division Officer on USS Ticonderoga, CVA-14; Ship's Navigator on USS Iwo Jima, LPH-2, and Deck Department Head on USS Midway, CVA-41. His final tour of duty in the Navy before retirement in Washington, D.C. was Program Manager of the Navy's new computerized ID card program which became the standard ID card program for all of the U.S. Armed Forces and later the U.S. Government.

In this period, Steve's interest in space continued with his joining the Space Unit of the American Philatelic Society and taking on the positions of Space Unit Treasurer, Space Unit Director, and presently, Space Unit Vice President and Interim Editor of the Space Unit's "Astrophile" journal.

He also started writing books specializing in U.S. space history covering the following topics:

  • "Project Mercury Points the Way,"  Project Mercury Little Joe, Project Mercury precursor covers, and Project Mercury flights
  • "Project Gemini Sets the Pace," Project Gemini precursor covers, Parasev tests, and Gemini Titan flights GT-1 through GT-12
  • "Apollo Walks on the Moon," Volume 1, Project Apollo precursor covers, Apollo fire tragedy, and Apollo missions 201 through Apollo 10
  • "Apollo Walks on the Moon," Volume 2, Project Apollo lunar landing missions Apollo 11 through Apollo 17
  • "Apollo Soyuz Test Project," cooperation in space between the USA and the USSR
  • "Saturn Apollo Soars Into Space," an overview of Saturn rocket development and qualification
  • "A Lab in the Sky, Skylab," launch of the Orbital Work Station and subsequent three space missions completing the Apollo Program
  • "Apollo Little Joe II Tests, Pad Abort Tests and Project Fire Tests," tests prior to the lunar missions