Friday, March 19, 2010

Book #25 – Riding Rockets

RidingRockets My business partner actually sent me an autographed copy of Riding Rockets. He met Mike Mullane at a bookstore and got two copies. I started reading this, but it’s been stuck in my car for awhile and I moved to e-reading. I picked it up recently as I was cleaning stuff out and started reading it again.

It’s an unabashed, somewhat straightforward look at the US Space Shuttle program from one of it’s astronauts. Not one of the ones that made any milestones, but one that struggled through the program, eventually going on 3 space flights, none of them important. He rode with Judy Resnick, one of the Challenger victims a year before that accident and talks about it.

It’s crude, written in the style of a fighter jock, all male, adrenaline driven astronaut. Mullane makes no excuses for who he is, but he recognizes as he writes the book that he’s not always socially acceptable. You get the raw, opinionated look at the program, and problems in it, from someone that went through it. I don’t know that I agree with all his conclusions, but he brings to light some of the issues with NASA and the way the shuttle was designed. After reading it, I think it does make some sense to retire the shuttle later this year.

If you’re easily offended, I wouldn’t read it, but if you are interested in what astronauts go through, it’s something to read to get an unabridged look at things like the bathroom in space. I certainly wouldn’t want to get into space until they get a real toilet working, I’ll say that much.

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