Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Schirra's Space (Bluejacket Books) Paperback – October, 1995
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more
Top Customer Reviews
Perhaps this should not be surprising. The author identifies himself as a technical man who throughout his military career kept his nose to the grind of precision flying and admits to little connectedness to the culture outside. No one should take up this work and expect to find Astronaut Schirra's opinion of "My Fair Lady." To the day of its publication the author through his book exudes continued pride in his association with other pilots of exceptional competence, and conversely, an avoidance of those who in his view are or were more form than substance. [Chuck Yeager, for example, will probably never grace the Schirra Thanksgiving table.] If Schirra is infected with hubris, it comes honorably.
Schirra is the antithesis of the joker and clown he was sometimes depicted as in, say, "The Right Stuff." It is within the world of test flying and space exploration that the reader will best connect with Schirra: learning, for example, that Schirra had little use for the extensive battery of medical tests to which all the early astronaut candidates were subjected. He was highly critical of the early conceptualization of Project Mercury. He was among those who considered early spaceflight "Spam in a Can" and lobbied extensively for pilot control in all of the various programs in which he served. His blunt talk, however, made sense as events would prove.Read more ›
I did feel, however, that too much time was spent telling not-very-interesting stories about Wally's Navy days. But that's not my main gripe with the book, which is the poor editing and proofreading. Typos abound in this book, such as when Wally's wife is referred to as "Joe" (her name is Jo). Wally is worried about the Gemini's escape rocket, when in fact Gemini had no escape rocket. The date of the terrible Apollo 1 fire is given as January 27, 1966 (it was 1967). Obviously these and others are silly, obvious mistakes, but no one took the time to fix them, and they take away from the reading experience.
The one thing I hoped would be in the book that was not was Wally's reaction to NASA's grounding of the Apollo 7 crew after the flight. Because the astronauts had disagreements with Mission Control during the flight, neither Schirra, Cunningham, or Eisele ever flew again. Wally had already announced his retirement before the flight, but Cunningham and Eisele never got another chance to go into space. I'm sure Wally had some feelings about this, but they're not here. Strange, since throughout the book he's presented as a no-nonsense guy who speaks his mind.
I also would have liked more about Wally's days as a space commentator with Walter Cronkite. Only a few pages are devoted to that. A pity, since this is how many people got to know and remember Wally. Perhaps this was intentional--I think Wally wants us to know more about his flying days rather than overshadowing them with the TV days.
For both space aficionados and casual readers, Schirra's Space will entertain and inform. I enjoyed it a lot.
Mercury astronauts, embodies all the great strengths along
with the weaknesses of this group compared with the astronauts
who entered the space program after them.
It must be remembered that when the original astronauts were
chosen in 1959, manned spaceflight was a great unknown. In particular,
it was not known how the human body would responds to all the stresses
caused by the massive accelerations and decelerations of the spacecraft
in addition to the problems of prolonged "weightlessness". Thus,
those astronauts chosen were found to be able to withstand worst-case
scenarios for these things. Piloting skills were not as important
because the astronaut didn't really have much control of the Mercury
By the time Schirra flew on his Sigma 7 flight (the fifth of the series), it had been found that the psychological and physiological stresses were not that great. In addition, the flight before his, Aurora 7, by Scott Carpenter was a near disaster because he did a poor job doing what little
piloting he could. Thus Schirra was called on to show that, indeed, with
good piloting skills, precise maneuvers could be carried out. Using what
Schirra called "the light stuff", Schirra proved that a skilled pilot can
do what has to be done while conserving precious fuel.
By the time the much more advanced two-man Gemini spacecraft came to fly, it was now necessary to carry out far more sophisticated missions, involving rendezvous, docking and EVA.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
beginning was a bit detailed about early life in the service but thoroughly enjoyed the bookPublished 22 months ago by REBECCA
Good time guy Wally Schirra was also a serious space pioneer and aviator. While this book glosses over a long career and should have been much better, it still is a treasure among... Read morePublished on December 27, 2013 by Dr. Morbius
If you're a fan of space history, you will probably enjoy this book written by one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts. Read morePublished on January 5, 2013 by BlueDiamond66
This is a fairly good book from the guy who had a reputation for being the prankster of the Mercury astronauts. Read morePublished on March 2, 2012 by astrofan
I liked Schirra's Space. Its only 227 pages with good pictures. A quick easy read. Read it in 1 day. Read morePublished on March 6, 2010 by Thomas Erickson
Schirra's Space was an interesting, quick and very enlightening read. I knew there was a good reason for Wally to retire from NASA early, but I didn't hear much about it prior to... Read morePublished on December 26, 2009 by Keith Mirenberg
Not even factually correct in some cases.. as when Wally implies that he got the LLTV training cancelled because it was dangerous. Wrong !!! It was used through Apollo 17. Read morePublished on December 27, 2004 by David K. Stephens