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Russia in Space: The Failed Frontier? [Paperback]

Brian Harvey
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 21, 2000 1852332034 978-1852332037 2001
Until the Apollo-Soyuz flight of 1972, the Russian Space Program was shrouded in such complete secrecy that only rumors of failures (or catastrophes) reached the West. This comprehensive history of the Russian Space Program, from its Sputnik origins to the privatized Mir Space Station, addresses the technical, political, historical, human, and organizational issues and provides a balanced focus on the manned and unmanned programs. It is the first book to assess the Russian Space Program including the 10-year period since the fall of communism.

Editorial Reviews


From the reviews of the first edition:

"Harvey presents a good summary of all aspects of the Russian space program and an excellent summary of Russian activities since the Cold War ended. … Harvey writes very well and includes well-chosen anecdotes. … Highly recommended as a thorough, well-balanced, up-to-date treatise of the Russian space program." (W. E. Howard III, Choice, September, 2001)

"The author describes the various satellite programs, the facilities, international cooperation and the space industry in a logical manner, providing at the same time the necessary links with the past. The descriptions are concise and to the point, accompanied by tables where appropriate and a few illustrations. … This is a ‘must have’ book - it is highly recommended." (News Bulletin of the Astronautical Society of Western Australia, Vol. 28 (2), 2002)

"This is the third of Brian Harvey’s books about the Soviet / Russian space programme … . I found this new work informative and refreshing … . The book follows the decline of the old Soviet military programme as the USSR disintegrated and describes the more modest Russian projects which followed it. Many different types of military missions are described with photographs, or sketches, of the satellites themselves. … Personally, I liked this book and enjoyed reading it." (John Davies, The Observatory, Vol. 121 (1164), 2001)

"This book covers the period 1992-2000. He reviews the previous achievement of the Soviet Union putting into context the programmes flown under both regimes. It is a good companion volume to the one he wrote earlier on the Soviet Programme. The pictures are really excellent." (Rex Hall, Spaceflight, Vol. 43 (8), 2001)

"Space writer Brian Harvey’s Russia in Space offers a comprehensive guide to the nuts and bolts of today’s Russian space programme, plus an assessment of where the Russians now are in space, how they got there, and where they might go next. … Harvey has produced a useful and timely guide for evaluating Russia as a partner in Western space activities." (James Oberg, New Scientist, February, 2001)

Product Details

  • Series: Springer Praxis Books / Astronomy and Planetary Sciences
  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2001 edition (December 21, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852332034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852332037
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,345,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars compares well to NASA January 25, 2007
For Americans, brought up on NASA's many successful exploits, this book gives a useful different perspective. Much of the narrative details the Soviet space achievements during the Cold War. And indeed, there were many notable firsts. From Sputnik to Vostok, Gagarin to Tereshkova, the Soviets made impressive strides. But Harvey shows that they also had their share of failures. From unmanned probes that got lost, to cosmonauts who perished.

Comparing the Russian and American space programs, you can see how the former played to their strengths. By emphasising massive launch capability (like the Proton and Energiya rockets) and a can-do attitude necessitated by small budgets, especially after the end of the Cold War. Arguably, the Americans had the most advanced vehicle, in the form of the Space Shuttles. But scarcely perfect, given 2 that were destroyed, and the lengthy regular maintenance costs even when matters were routine. The book also shows the deep experience of prolonged spaceflight that the Russians amassed, via their space station. Something the Americans largely gave up after Skylab was abandoned.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good review of Soviet space hardware April 24, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a rather technical book aimed at Soviet space-age hardware. Looking at it another way, it's the history of their space program told through the equipment involved, not the people. I found it an interesting read. You can easily skip around from one topic to another without loss of continuity if you want to learn about the Soviet version of the space shuttle one day or Mir the next. I found it to be accurate and clearly-written.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well researched and detailed history of Russia in Space February 14, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Brian Harvey has clearly done a tremendous amount of research to create "Russia in Space - The Failed Frontier?"

It does a great job of covering the manned, unmanned, military, and civilian space operations in the Soviet Union and Russian programs.

This is not a light read. It is more of an academic work with great detail on costs, system capabilities, and history.

There is a lot of detail on how the program changed when the USSR dissolved.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Russia may very well hold the key to space October 25, 2001
For those who think that NASA is the only way to go into space, read this excellent book, and you will see that the Soviets, and now Russia, really have an incredible history, and a bright future ahead, providing they can cope with their financial problems. The quality and imagination of the russian space program is incredible, and it would be a invaluable loss if it had to collapse completely... because it may very well be this program that will get us out of our craddle.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars total nonsense that should be trashed February 26, 2013
The author must be a former communist to extol the Soviet space "accomplishments" so well. History tells us otherwise especially when he cites Soviet "conern for safety" which the Soviets didn't do which is why a number of flights early on were not announced - and the cosmosnauts died in space - unless they were successful. Also the adding of an additional couch to a mission to make thf rist 3-man flight that resulted in the deaths of all 3 thanks to the Soviet drive for headlines. Read other histories but this one is largely lies, half-truths, and fabrications. A volume to total nonsense.
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