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Pioneering Space: Living on the Next Frontier [Hardcover]

James E. Oberg , Alcestis R. Oberg
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

James Oberg (Red Star in Orbit, Mission to Mars, etc.) is a spaceflight engineer at Houston Mission Control; Alcestis Oberg is the author of Spacefarers of the 80s and 90s. Here they offer an engrossing and vivid account of what life is like in an earth-orbiting spacecraft. Because relatively few American space-travelers have published tales of their experiences, the Obergs lean heavily on the diaries and memoirspublished in Russia and little known hereof pioneering Soviet astronauts, notably veterans of long-term Salyut missions like Ryumin and Berezovoy. Here is the human side of life in orbit. Few readers can fail to be grippedand occasionally amusedby revelations of the immediate problems (how astronauts contend with toilets, hygiene, sleeping), their technical perils (e.g., air contamination) and the psychological hazards they face, from crewmate incompatibility to depression and homesickness for Earth. Photos. January 27
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The Obergs' first collaborative effort attempts to capture the human side of living and working in space while also taking a look at the technology that will make future permanent space settlements possible. Drawing heavily on in-flight diaries kept by Soviet cosmonauts during various long-duration space station missions as well as on interviews with U.S. shuttle astronauts, the authors do succeed in conveying the experience of space flight to the general reader. However, they are less successful at describing the technical aspect of space station technology and operations. The result is an uneven work; in fact, the chapter on remote sensing almost seems to belong to another book entirely. Still, the discussions of the human side of space flight are interesting. For larger collections. Thomas J. Frieling, Bainbridge Junior Coll. Lib., Ga.
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Mcgraw-Hill; First Edition edition (January 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070480346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070480346
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,427,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book on what it would be like living in Space June 24, 2012
This is one of my favorite space books. It explores different aspects of living and working in space. The author is very knowledgeable about space exploration and this helps to draw the reader into every aspect of being a space explorer. Being a physician and an Obstetrician, I particularly enjoyed the chapter on Space Death, Space Birth.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stuff about space not to be found elsewhere April 4, 2011
This book was published in 1986, but has tons of interesting information about space travel you won't find elsewhere in the popular press. If you're writing a fiction story having to do with the human experience in space, this book is a must for all sorts of detail you can weave into your prose.

A large part of this narrative has to do with the personal human aspects of spaceflight: physiological, psychological, and sociological. For instance: how the "odor of space is that of burnt steel" (other writers like Linenger have noted this fact), the disorientation experience when reaching orbit, the perception of the passage of time becomes distorted, the astronaut's sense of smell and taste becomes dulled (explaining why spicy foods and condiments are so prized in orbit), the puffiness and distortion of features that occurs due to redistributions of bodily fluids, the feelings of isolation and alienation that can overcome crew members on long-duration spaceflight, the communication problems that arise between crew members because of distortion of facial features, affect, gestures, and body language, and the upsetting of biological rhythm due to the accelerated cycle of orbital days and nights -- usually around 90 minutes.

Other topics taken up are the experiences and value of long-term observation of the Earth, the repair jobs that space travellers are often called upon to perform, daily activities and bodily functions (less said here, the better!), the space suits and EVAs. An entire chapter is devoted to orbital experimentation with the growing of plants and small food crops. Another is devoted to the operation and maintenance of spacecraft life support systems (obviously any crew's most important task).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but dated June 15, 2004
Interesting book but a little out dated (the Challenger disaster being the big news of the book). The book is divided into themes for chapters. There are chapters on what it's like to be in space, how much better the human eye is than the camera, how basic human needs are taken care of in space (and what is done with the waste), etc. The writing is a little choppy, cutting between eras as needed for the thread of the theme, rather than smoothly segueing through eras or different missions to space. I found that style of writing the most difficult piece of the book. By about chapter four, I was finally in synch with the book and able to read more quickly.
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