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  Stations in the Sky (Outward Odyssey)

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Author Topic:   Stations in the Sky (Outward Odyssey)
Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 04-13-2008 04:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well then, my contract was signed last week. As such I can finally tell you a little about my book as the newest signed author of the Outward Odyssey team. First of all, I would like to thank Colin for giving me the invite and a couple other members for giving him the suggestion to get in touch with me. When I got the first inquiry if I wanted to do this project, (after a bit of back checking to make sure it wasn't a hoax), I was both proud and humbled at the same time.

I told Colin when I opted to take on this project that I probably now had some insight into the mind of a backup astronaut crewmember who had just been assigned to a prime crew. You get the sense of accomplishment, but at the same time you also feel the weight of the work needed to be done to complete the task and you wonder if you really are up to the job. Lord willing, I am. But I will be saying a few "Al Shepherd's Prayers" (be it a real prayer or one introduced by "The Right Stuff") until I do finally deliver the manuscript.

Anyway, enough about that. I would like to at least tell you my working title for the book and a little taste of what is intended to be about. It will be called "Outposts On The Frontier: Stations and Laboratories in Earth Orbit". The intent is to cover space stations from MOL and Salyut all the way to the ISS. Skylab will also be covered in a fashion that compliments the fourthcoming "Homesteading Space" title. I also plan to throw in some ESA Spacelab and Spacehab coverage as well, since even though they weren't space stations in the strict sense, they were space laboratories dedicated to microgravity based research.

It is my hope that when the book is finished, some of the topics and missions covered will be recent space history as opposed to just stuff from the distant past. As such, this project will have a few unique challenges compared to some of the other Outward Odyssey titles. But Colin, Francis, Chris, Dan, Owen and Joe (and Jay G. along with the other Outward Odyssey authors) have already set a high bar. It is one tradition of this book series that I hope to continue. It will be hard work, but fun at the same time.

johntosullivan
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From: Cork, Cork, Ireland
Registered: Oct 2005

posted 04-13-2008 08:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for johntosullivan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Best wishes with the project. When do you think it will be published? What's your schedule?

ColinBurgess
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posted 04-13-2008 11:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The release schedule will be determined by the publishers at a later date, but don't go looking in book shops for a while yet. What with allowing a couple of years for the research and writing to be done, plus the lengthy and meticulous editing process, it will be a minimum three years and possibly up to four before Jay's book comes out. Sooner would be nice, but not realistic, unfortunately.

cspg
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From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 04-14-2008 08:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jay, any idea (yet!) about how your book will differ from Manned Space Stations by Phil Baker. I'm guessing that you'll tackle the human side of those projects, to continue the tone of the series?

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
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posted 04-15-2008 05:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I haven't read Phil's book so I can't really comment on it. I do plan to read it at least to get an idea of what has been covered and how to approach my title to be different. I can't really say at this time what my focus will be because for starters it hasn't been written yet and secondly I want to keep it somewhat under wraps since I want you to buy my book anyway. But yes, my plan is to keep the tone the same as the previous titles since people are ultimately at the heart of it. I have primary plans for how I want this to proceed and I have backup plans as well in case I can't get the research I need for the primary stuff. Concerning fundimental differences, If you've ever cracked open a Praxis book and compared it with one of the Outward Odyssey titles, you will know that both approach things quite a bit differently.

BTW, I forgot to mention that my book will also have some ASTP coverage in it. Reason being is that ASTP I consider a space lab of sorts since NASA did utilize the docking airlock as a payload module for some long term experiments and the success of ASTP had direct bearing on Shuttle Mir, when that program began nearly two decades later.

cspg
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posted 04-15-2008 09:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My review of Philip Baker's Manned Space Stations (amazon.com):

The book provides a very good overview of Man's successes and failures at performing long-duration space flights. The following programs are covered in the book: Salyut, Mir, Skylab, Shuttle-Spacelab, Shuttle-Mir and finally the International Space Station (ISS). Future plans conclude the book with a look at the Chinese space program. It is a very enjoyable read throughout, readily accessible to the non-specialists and provides a excellent starting point for those who would like to go deeper into the programs described in this book, with existing litterature and forthcoming ones (Salyut and Skylab). Color plates showing the evolution of the construction of the ISS is a nice addition.

The only criticism I could make about this book is the lack of proper description of the photos. Most of them represent astronauts/cosmonauts but their names only appear in the text. The photo caption only provide the mission's name (eg. Soyuz T15 crew) so it's hard to tell who's who in the pictures, with the notable exception of the two Chinese space flights.

pbaker
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posted 04-15-2008 04:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pbaker   Click Here to Email pbaker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for your kind review, good point about the photos, I will do better next time.

Jay, good luck with your book. Mine was not meant to be a very in-depth coverage, as can be seen by its length, but perhaps the first to contain all aspects of Manned Space Stations, those that flew, and those that didn't. I too included ASTP and other mission that were not strictly speaking Space Stations, such as the Soyuz 4 and 5 docking, in an effort to show the progression towards the permanent manned outpost of today. In the same vein I included Spacelab, and Polyus.

I believe that a book with an in-depth human interest side to it on this subject is overdue, and I wish you well with it.

Colin has put together a fine team of authors for this terrific series of books, and in 3 or four years I look forward to seeing the fruits of your labours.

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 07-10-2008 02:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a minor update today. I'll be doing my first major research trip to JSC next week to conduct some interviews (among other things). Thus far, NASA public affairs has been very helpful in accomodating my requests, so this is mainly intended as a shoutout to them. At the same time, Colin has also been very helpful in allowing me access to some other research materials.

So wish me luck, I am going to need it.

NavySpaceFan
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From: Norfolk, VA
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posted 07-11-2008 05:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds great, Jay!!!

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
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posted 07-22-2008 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, my first trip to JSC went VERY well and I am now deep into digesting the stuff I learned and transcribing it into print form. I learned some serious stuff, some funny stuff, and also got insight into stuff I had never even considered before (but I am now). If the rest of my research goes as well as this trip did, this is going to be a really fun book to write.

Jay Chladek
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Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 02-27-2009 06:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a minor update. My research trip to San Diego went well. I managed to meet 5 of the 7 people at Spacefest that I wanted to discuss my book topics with and all seem to be willing to conduct interviews at later dates on their involvements with MOL, Spacelab, ISS and other laboratory related missions. As an added bonus, I also managed to get into the San Diego Air & Space museum's library archives thanks to the assistance from Colin and Francis. The real icing on the cake was they let me buy a NASA hardcover report about the Spacelab project dated 1987 since they had two copies in their collection (making one redundant). This report has loads of data about the project that I have not found elsewhere and it will help with my coverage of this often overlooked space laboratory program.

As such, work continues and I hope to conduct my next series of interviews for the book both at NASA JSC and elsewhere probably this coming July. Things are progressing on the Russian research side as well.

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
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posted 06-14-2009 05:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by pbaker:
Jay, good luck with your book.
Well, as I am sure most of you are aware by now after Colin's posting, Phil is no longer with us. As such, considering where he is now he will probably be seeing the fruits of my labours a lot sooner then anyone else.

Thanks for the good words Phil, they are appreciated. And where ever you are now, I can't wait to read your Apollo 14 chapter.

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 11-19-2009 02:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Minor update time.

Last month I did my second major research trip to Houston. Half that time was spent at JSC conducting interviews and visiting some of the places on site responsible for ISS support. The other half was spent at the University of Houston Clear Lake campus digging through the NASA archives for information about Skylab, ASTP and early shuttle. I must say, I found some good stuff there. To any other researcher, the archives are a really good resource of primary research material and the staff on hand of Shelly Kelly and Jean Grant are ready, willing and able to provide assistance as needed.

I also took a side trip to KSC to watch Ares 1-X fly. Granted I know any coverage of Ares 1-X and Constellation in my book will be only a few paragraphs at most, but I felt it was best to get some first hand data on how it performed.

Along the way I also renewed contacts with a couple individuals I met in 2006 when I was down for STS-121 and I also made a few new ones. One of them promises to be very rewarding for helping to tell the story of the early days of NASA and its involvement in space stations.

Jay Chladek
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Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 05-11-2012 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, it has been a long time since my last update. I had hoped to post one sooner, but we still had two more years of shuttle flights to the ISS to fly and a few other things have happened since then.

I've been pulling a few all night writing sessions lately as I work dilligently to get my manuscript wrapped up. I can now say that I can "write in my sleep" as it seems I can be most productive when I am half asleep (probably because I am not obsessing too much on somthing). There have been some really great times and some days where the grind just seems to make you want to chuck the computer monitor out the window. But, you push through. You have to as a lot of people are counting on you. They put their reputations on the line and you have to deliver. Quitting might be easy, but living with yourself after will not be.

Early this morning, I passed a big milestone as I managed to finish 13 of 14 chapters. Now of course there is still a lot of work to go. But, it looks like I can get the final chapter of the manuscript done by this week. Then of course things will have to go on a "diet" of sorts and all the little stuff associated with this project will have to be done before the official submission can take place. But, put simply, I am in the home stretch now.

When I said yes to taking on this project after Colin's invite, little did we know it would be a nearly five year odyssey for me. I've had the opportunity to experience some very cool things along the way as I've interviewed astronauts, engineers, managers and space workers. I've got to see shuttle launches and visit NASA centers to see things the general public normally doesn't. I've dug through articles online and paper archives in San Diego and at JSC, acquired over a dozen books (many of them NASA reports) and watched hours of NASA TV and other archival footage while also listening to old recordings from engineers and astronauts that hadn't been heard in over 30 years.

As I've been looking over my manuscript, I am proud of what I've accomplished. It has been said that when movie directors tackle films, what ends up on celluloid isn't necessarily the same thing as what they originally started with. Let me tell you, it is exactly the same in book writing. Part of that comes down to how the program evolved, and I also had to make some decisions about what to focus on as well and what to cut for space (and I still have some decisions to make on that). Doing a history of no less than eleven space stations going from MOL to ISS and throwing in other stuff is not easy for a single book.

But, I think in the end it will be a good story. I'll let you know when the manuscript has been completed and I will see some of you at Spacefest in three weeks.

Jay Gallentine
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From: Shorewood, MN, USA
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posted 05-11-2012 06:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jay - Great news; thanks for the update! We all look forward to seeing the finished product.

Kevmac
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From: College Station, TX
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 05-11-2012 07:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevmac   Click Here to Email Kevmac     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all your diligence on this project. It will be a sure-purchase for many of us. Keep up the great work. You're almost there!

onesmallstep
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From: Staten Island, New York USA
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posted 05-21-2012 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good luck on the final chapter; I will be eagerly awaiting its publication. I'm especially fascinated with the MOL program and will read and peruse any photos on that subject in your book..

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 06-07-2012 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I am inching a little closer. I got the bulk of the final chapter finished last night. I've got a temporary "ending" up, although I need to tweak it a little bit. Now the book goes on a diet.

Still, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting bigger. I also managed to make some contacts at Spacefest which might add some nice additional touches to this book. I'll keep you posted.

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