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Space Shuttle: The First 20 Years -- The Astronauts' Experiences in Their Own Words Hardcover – June 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: DK ADULT; 1st edition (June 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789484250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789484253
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 9.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,058,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

We're living in a sci-fi world, but we hardly seem to notice it. Recounting the history of our most successful space program, the editors of Air & Space and Smithsonian magazines reawaken the reader's attention to the fantastic in Space Shuttle: The First 20 Years. Featuring hundreds of beautiful, enlightening, and sometimes funny photographs (many never before published), the book has compelling visual appeal for all ages. Uniquely focused on the personal experiences of the astronauts who lived and worked aboard shuttles and space stations, the text is largely made up of interviews and written reminiscences of these often-inspiring adventurers. The subjects roam from the mundane (What did Mir smell like?) to the reverent (What's it like to see the effects of war from space?). The two main parts of the book are each arranged chronologically: first following the missions from 1981 onward, then looking closely at the experience of space travelers, from training through launch and recovery. To the editor's credit, they don't shy away from retelling the story of the Shuttle program's most defining moment--the 1986 Challenger disaster. Though it's every bit as chilling to read about many years later, the context of later dedication to safety and noncommercial uses heightens the value of the sacrifice. A glossary, detailed mission list, and thorough illustrated guide to shuttle operations round out the book, making it a valuable reference and an important reminder that our species has achieved something heroic. --Rob Lightner

From Library Journal

This amazing book documents the history of the space shuttle program by collecting anecdotes and reminiscences from the astronauts and some remarkable pictures of the shuttle and Earth from space. Compiled by the editors of Air&Space/Smithsonian magazine, the 77 well-edited, first-person accounts are honest and compelling. The astronauts tell funny stories, describe their first experiences in zero gravity, and reveal their fear of failing in their missions. Many complain that the busy schedule during flights left no time to gaze out the window at Earth. Selected from the NASA archives, the numerous color photographs some previously unpublished complement the astronauts' recollections and show amazing views of Earth and the astronauts working in and outside the shuttles. Because this work provides firsthand accounts of the shuttle program, it will be valuable to historians of manned space flight. But casual readers will also be captivated by the astronauts' unique descriptions of the flights, especially the personal details that are usually omitted from books about the shuttle, such as Dennis R. Jenkins's more technology-focused Space Shuttle. Highly recommended. Jeffrey Beall, Univ. of Colorado Lib., Denver
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Buy this book for your daughters!
Jan in NC
The book is well organized and the astronauts experiences are really thrilling and emotional.
Arun
Highly recommended for the space junkies and casual observer of the Shuttle.
cpt matt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Crocker on June 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Space Shuttle: The First 20 Years is the best book on the shuttle program yet. Yes, it has beautiful [and in some cases, unpublished] photos. Yes, it has all the details you need to know to follow a shuttle mission from training to landing. But the best part of this book is that it contains the shuttle experience in the words of the astronauts themselves! The book contains paragraph to essay length quotes from the shuttle astronauts organized into different chapters each concerning a different aspect of a shuttle mission. This book is a cousin to the beautiful and now out-of-print The Home Planet [1988], although the quotes in that book were never longer than a paragraph. To top it off, Space Shuttle: The First 20 Years is published by DK Publishing, a company especially good at this type of book. Throw in a lower than normal price for a coffee table-style book and you can't miss. I highly recommend this book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dennis R. Jenkins on March 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It may seem strange that one author who has written a Space Shuttle book is recommending another book on the same subject, but this is one of the most beautifully presented books I have ever seen. It tells the story from an entirely different perspective than mine, and I am very happy that Tony Reichhardt and the Smithsonian have produced such a wonderful tribute to the program. I highly recommend this work.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By martin clark on June 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
With the words of those who have flown the Space Shuttle over the past 20 years, and stunning NASA photography, the reader is taken on a litterary flight to orbit. Not a dry technical account of stats and flight info, but the actual experiences of the 70+ astronauts that lead the reader from training, launch, on-orbit, visits to MIR and the International Space Station, reentry and landing. The editorial staff of Smithsonian's Air & Space Magazine have joined the league of authors/ astronauts Michael Collins and Jim Lovell and historian Andrew Chakin for their ability allowing readers to take flight through the pages of their books.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Opening this book took me back to that Sunday morning back in 1981 when as a space addicted 16 year old I watched the television in amazement as STS 1 took to the skies for the first time. The book provides a wonderful walk through all that has happened in the two decades that followed. The short remarks of so many who have flown on the shuttle provide remarkably vivid insights into what most of us can only dream of experiencing. A terrific selection of photographs makes this a must have for any fan, young or old, of the space shuttle program.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "multiplex_9999" on September 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If you are interested in the space program, this book is a must have. I got it for a birthday gift and really treasured it. I think most people will enjoy the narratives given by the astronauts about what goes on behind the scenes. It offers a rich in-depth perspective from the astronaut's point of view.
The photography is superior.
Well worth buying. I can't say enough good things about it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peter John Hill on June 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this the day that the Columbia was lost. I needed to have some help dealing with the loss. I have been interested in the Space program since the 70's. I was born the day before Apollo 11 took of for the moon.
The stories in this book are excellent, the photographs, amazing. If you want or need a memento of the Shuttle, this is the book to buy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dave English VINE VOICE on June 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think there are three broad types of books on space programs. The pasted together by who-knows-who sadly disappointing ones. The fine works that illuminate some aspect of the space program with technical quality or historical insight or somesuch. And then there are those few books that bring together the history and the machines and the people with the words of those who were there, awesome drool-on-the-page photos, and the love of a quality craftsman. This is of course the latter. All written by the astronauts. Includes notes on every mission. Well worth the money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
i wont have a bad word said about it. some of the photos in this book are really inspiring.
if it wasn't for the love i have for it i would say that it should be thrown with considerable force at anybody who is, after two decades of such ground breaking work, still in doubt about the worth of the shuttle.
just a word or two on the title - '...the first 20 years'. theres a review just down a bit which suggests that it should be the '..most recent 20 yrs' as the book is all about the two decades between 1981 and 2001. i would like to offer that the shuttle programme is only 23yrs old so the 'first' 20yrs IS the 'most recent' 20yrs.
also, i am delighted to read that someone else gets confused when a story told turns out NOT to be related to the picture beside. don't get me wrong, i think it was a good decision to match up the stories with photos which are in some way relevant but i think that its actually done so seamlessly that i tend to think that they are two of the same and end up disappointed and slightly confused when i realise that they aren't.
before i read this book (and reading the expressions on the faces of the astronauts is definately included), an astronaut was no more than the holder of the most amazing profession there is. now they're all people, who have fought so hard and so long to earn a place at the forefront of humanity. i'm so glad that someone finally decided to tell their story.
really very impressed and somewhat bewitched.
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