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Author Topic:   Space shuttle crew member biographies
Bluebird Mike
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Registered: Jun 2011

posted 11-20-2012 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bluebird Mike     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have Mike Mullane's sublime "Riding Rockets" and Tom Jones' "Sky Walking," and I'm aware of Jerry Ross' book that's coming out next year, but what other shuttle astronaut biographies are out there that are in a similar vein? Am I missing anything good?

328KF
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posted 11-20-2012 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John Young's new book has been discussed in another thread... I'm in the middle of it and have found it to be a great read despite the few inaccuracies in the first couple of pages. Some good technical discussions on shuttle safety and his missions, but definitely a different presentation from Riding Rockets.

I haven't read Story Musgrave's autobiography, but his large format photo book on flying NASA's T-38 is one of my favorites. Going back, Joe Allen's Entering Space was another coffee table type book with great photos.

While not written by an astronaut, I just recently read Before Liftoff, which an insider's look at the training a space shuttle crew (in this case, the crew of STS-41G) goes through. While slightly dry, I don't think anyone else has come close to giving you an appreciation for the rigors of astronaut training.

Jerry Linenger wrote Off the Planet about his experiences in training and flying his Mir mission, including the onboard fire that occurred while he was there.

Those are a few suggestions to start with. I'm still waiting for Joe Engle or Bob Crippen to decide to write their memoirs!

fredtrav
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From: Birmingham AL USA
Registered: Aug 2010

posted 11-20-2012 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You also have Seize the Moment by Helen Sharman, a decent read and Mae Jemison's Find Where the Wind Goes.

GoesTo11
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From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 11-20-2012 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Publication is a little ways off, but you might also want to keep an eye out here for updates on the two upcoming Shuttle-dedicated volumes in the Ouward Odyssey series, Bold They Rise and Wheels Stop. Previous volumes in the (outstanding) series have been chock-full of first-person anecdotes and observations.

p51
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Posts: 771
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 11-20-2012 01:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
While not written by an astronaut, I just recently read Before Liftoff, which an insider's look at the training a space shuttle crew (in this case, the crew of STS-41G) goes through. While slightly dry, I don't think anyone else has come close to giving you an appreciation for the rigors of astronaut training.
I second this. I read it a few months ago and got a great deal out of it.

Bluebird Mike
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posted 11-20-2012 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bluebird Mike     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

Tykeanaut
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From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 11-20-2012 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As well as those already mentioned, I also enjoyed "Mission: An American Congressman's voyage to space. By U.S. Congressman Bill Nelson with Jamie Buckingham. Published in 1988 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

onesmallstep
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From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 11-21-2012 09:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If we're including both biographies and autobiographies, then 'High Calling', written by the widow of Columbia commander Rick Husband, Evelyn, comes to mind. Inspiring and touching. Also, 'Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope' a joint memoir by shuttle commander Mark Kelly and his wife Gabby Giffords, now out in a revised paperback edition. Both recommended.

AJ
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From: Plattsburgh, NY, United States
Registered: Feb 2009

posted 11-21-2012 05:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I second the recommendation of "High Calling". I am not especially religious or even spiritual, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the book very much. It's a great read.

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

posted 11-21-2012 11:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One book that might be worth reading is "Reflections from Earth Orbit" by Winston Scott. It is published by Apogee and a bit thin compared to Riding Rockets or Sky Walking, but I picked up a copy a few years ago and it is a rather good narrative.

The target audience for the book I gather seems to be young adults as it tends to go for more of the inspirational angle rather than the nitty gritty nuts and bolts stuff. But one bit I did appreciate was Scott talking a bit about growing up as a black person in Florida to a family who was middle class, yet a bit on the poor side at a time when schools began to integrate. It is certainly a unique angle you won't find in any of the other books, unless somebody like Guian Bluford or Leland Melvin writes a book (I would love to read a book from Melvin, given his science background and the fact that he actually played a season for an NFL football team).

I would say it is a good supplement read for somebody who has read "Sky Walking" to get the idea of NASA's behind the scenes and just wants to learn more about a man like Winston Scott himself. It does contribute an interesting chapter to the overall narrative. I know after reading this book that I would like to some day meet "Winston Scott". And if you ever get a chance to watch the PBS documentary "Astronauts" from about 1997, you can see Winston doing his duties on STS-72 as one of the EVA crewmembers. Putting a face and a voice to a book narrative always helps.

TLI
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From: London, UK
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 11-30-2012 07:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TLI   Click Here to Email TLI     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not strictly an astronaut biography but "Dragonfly" by Bryan Burrough is a good account of the period when the Shuttle was visiting the Mir space station, focusing mainly on the accidents ...

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