Author Topic: Spaceflight Book Thread  (Read 121645 times)

Offline elmarko

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Spaceflight Book Thread
« on: 01/12/2009 06:05 PM »
Over the past 12 months or so, I've been acquiring a decent collection of spaceflight-based books, so I thought I'd start a thread for catch-all discussion.

Use this thread to recommend a book, review or critique a book, post news about upcoming books, or to ask for some ideas of what to buy.

Here's the books I've bought in the past 12 months:

Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut: http://www.amazon.com/Riding-Rockets-Outrageous-Shuttle-Astronaut/dp/0743276825 - Needs no introduction. I immensely enjoyed this and frequently laughed out loud.

Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Red-Moon-Rising-Sputnik-Rivalries/dp/080508858X/ref=ed_oe_p - I really enjoyed this, but I've heard criticism of it.

How to Build Your Own Spaceship: The Science of Personal Space Travel: http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Build-Your-Own-Spaceship/dp/1846271258 - A bit of a light read, but entertaining enough. Talks about commercial spaceflight a lot.

Failure is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond: http://www.amazon.com/Failure-Not-Option-Mission-Control/dp/0743200799 - I am half way through this and it is fantastic. Gene Kranz's recollections are very detailed and entertaining, and it's great to read about how the MCC teams were developed during the 60s.

Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moondust-Search-Men-Fell-Earth/dp/0747563683 - I haven't started this yet. Also it was in Richard and Judy's book club. If you aren't from the UK, basically they are a TV presenting husband and wife who think they are qualified to review books. Quite popularist. However I suppose it's good that they decided to take a look at something like this and introduce it to the general public.

Dark Side of the Moon: The Magnificent Madness of the American Lunar Quest: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Side-Moon-Magnificent-American/dp/0224075934 - Haven't started this yet either ;) I bought it without knowing about it, just saw it in a shop and thought it looked good. I then found out that apparently it is riddled with inaccuracies, and is a bit crap. Can anyone confirm?

I am looking for recommendations of what to buy next. I have read enough about the early days and the 60s to last me a good while, but I have been looking at the Chris Kraft book. Is that any good? I'm after some Space Shuttle-related stuff now. I've gleaned from reading threads on NSF that the Jenkins book about the first 100 missions is quite a good one, so I'll be ordering that from America soon. I'd love to see some suggestions for the history of the craft, it's early design and testing, etc. Maybe some astronaut books to complement Riding Rockets.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2009 06:06 PM by elmarko »

Offline elmarko

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #1 on: 01/13/2009 11:43 AM »
Seen as this is going slower than I thought, I'll bump it by noting that today I'm probably going to buy the Brian Burrough book "Dragonfly" about the Shuttle/Mir missions and the issues surrounding them.

Anyone read it?

Offline gomorrha

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #2 on: 01/13/2009 12:23 PM »
Not really fitting into this thread - but for those having problems reading a book or simply more enjoy watching space and spaceflight stuff, here is my favorite link:

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=Zuke696&view=playlists


Offline Suzy

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #3 on: 01/13/2009 07:21 PM »
Seen as this is going slower than I thought, I'll bump it by noting that today I'm probably going to buy the Brian Burrough book "Dragonfly" about the Shuttle/Mir missions and the issues surrounding them.

Anyone read it?

Yes, I have it on my bookshelf - it is quite entertaining, though perhaps not for those written about! Astronaut Jerry Linenger is portrayed especially unflatteringly (in contrast to his own biography, Off the Planet!).

Offline DMeader

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #4 on: 01/13/2009 07:38 PM »
Seen as this is going slower than I thought, I'll bump it by noting that today I'm probably going to buy the Brian Burrough book "Dragonfly" about the Shuttle/Mir missions and the issues surrounding them.

Anyone read it?

Yes, I have it on my bookshelf - it is quite entertaining, though perhaps not for those written about! Astronaut Jerry Linenger is portrayed especially unflatteringly (in contrast to his own biography, Off the Planet!).

I wasn't impressed by Linenger's book. He seemed to consider himself quite the hero. Don't think I'd recommend this one.

I enjoyed "Dragonfly", both for the technical accounts of the Phase One program on Mir as well as the descriptions of the various personalities.

"Riding Rockets" by Mike Mullane was good, once again for the insights into various personalities. Especially the portrayal of John Young, or at least how Mullane saw him. This one seems to be out of print already.

I wish Shannon Lucid would write a book. Oh, and if you haven't bought "Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation System" by Dennis R. Jenkins, get it first.
 



Offline elmarko

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #5 on: 01/13/2009 08:42 PM »
Yeah, I mentioned the Jenkins book in my first post. I'll definitely order it from America.

Mullane's book shouldn't be out of print already, I'm sure it's still quite popular and reprinted often.

Looks like I'll buy the Chris Kraft book, Jenkins' STS book, and Dragonfly later this week, then :)

What else have you all been reading!?

Online eeergo

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #6 on: 01/13/2009 09:25 PM »
My bedside table currently hosts two books I'm enjoying a lot so far. One of them is "The rebirth of hte Russian Space program" by Brian Harvey. Interesting account of all the post-soviet period with special emphasis in the 2000-2006 years. Clarifying for those of us who weren't able to follow all the Cold War and post-Cold War developments. Helps to understand what history many satellites currently launched had and will have. Quite well written.

The other one is "The story of the Space Station Mir" by David Harland. I'm actually enjoying this one better, because of the 'tale' style the author uses, but I still can't say much about its defects or virtues as I'm only through the first chapter.

Looks promising though, really appreciate the insight into the activities (scientific or not) the different crews performed. There were studies about developing tadpoles in Salyut 1 already! Helps give perspective about the experiments currently performed, although some that look repetitive nowadays may be much more advanced and controlled, of course.
-DaviD-

Offline elmarko

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #7 on: 01/13/2009 09:28 PM »
That sounds cool. I might have a look.

Does anyone know of any books about the classified military programs of both Russia and the US? My interest has been piqued with the recent articles on Space Review about the mission patches and the Keyhole sats.

Offline blane

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #8 on: 01/14/2009 04:16 AM »
Seen as this is going slower than I thought, I'll bump it by noting that today I'm probably going to buy the Brian Burrough book "Dragonfly" about the Shuttle/Mir missions and the issues surrounding them.

Anyone read it?
Once started, it is hard to put down.  Very intense, (and at times infuriating)
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Offline maskims

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #9 on: 01/14/2009 09:56 AM »
I've read Moondust, which I must say I quite enjoyed. It's a recollection of encounters with some of the Apollo astronauts and a personal reflexion by the author about the meaning of Apollo.

Not much of an insight into spaceflight itself but catchy, especially if you're too young to have lived that period yourself.

Offline elmarko

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #10 on: 01/14/2009 09:57 AM »
Yes, definitely I am :) It did look quite fascinating. I'll probably start it after I finish Kranz's book.

Offline Jorge

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #11 on: 01/15/2009 01:53 AM »
Best astronaut autobio I've read is Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins.
JRF

Offline ChrisC

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #12 on: 01/15/2009 02:16 AM »
Here's one that I don't think has been mentioned yet:

Too Far From Home: A Story of Life and Death in Space
http://www.randomhouse.com/doubleday/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780385514651
Chris Jones writes about ISS during the post-Columbia downtime period. "Too Far from Home chronicles the efforts of the beleaguered Mission Controls in Houston and Moscow as they work frantically against the clock to bring their men safely back to Earth, ultimately settling on a plan that felt, at best, like a long shot."

I actually got two copies of it for my birthday last year, from two different people.

There's a March 2007 thread about it over on collectSpace ( http://www.collectspace.com/ubb/Forum9/HTML/000961.html ), and they didn't think too highly of it.  Apparently it's a book length treatment of an Esquire article ( http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ0704-JULY_ASTRO ).  Now, I have read some absolutely outstanding Esquire articles (like these: http://www.esquire.com/features/page-75/greatest-stories ) but apparently Jones didn't work very hard to make it worth the additional length.

Anyway, I'll be taking the Jones book and the Mullane book (mentioned above a couple times) with me on my February trip to KSC to watch the STS-119 launch.  Should be good beach reading on the best beach ever!
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Offline rsp1202

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #13 on: 01/15/2009 03:07 AM »
That sounds cool. I might have a look.

Does anyone know of any books about the classified military programs of both Russia and the US? My interest has been piqued with the recent articles on Space Review about the mission patches and the Keyhole sats.

If I remember correctly, Blackstar recommended two books by Jeffrey Richelson:
"The Wizards of Langley"
"America's Secret Eyes in Space: The U.S. Keyhole Satellite Program"

Offline elmarko

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #14 on: 01/15/2009 06:48 AM »
Exactly the kind of thing I was after. Thanks.

Offline jimcander

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #15 on: 01/15/2009 04:22 PM »
Andrew Chaiken - From The Earth To The Moon

I've read it twice and feel the need to read it again.

Thomas Jones - SkyWalking

Wrote him a note after reading it...  Actually got a response... pretty cool

James Lovell - Lost Moon

Read it before the movie and have a signed copy of it now.  Thought it was a very good read.

« Last Edit: 01/15/2009 04:27 PM by jimcander »

Offline Slava33

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #16 on: 01/15/2009 11:30 PM »
I was looking for a discussion of space-related literature!  Does anyone know of any good space-related books available on Audible (for those of us with long commutes)?

Offline elmarko

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #17 on: 01/19/2009 01:03 PM »
Which of these two Jenkins books am I after (obviously, ignore the first one)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_b?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=jenkins+shuttle+hustory&x=0&y=0


Offline elmarko

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Re: Spaceflight Book Thread
« Reply #19 on: 01/19/2009 01:59 PM »
See, I thought someone mentioned the History one, that goes into the development. Are they both good?

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