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Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut [Paperback]

Mike Mullane
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
Price: 10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Feb 2007
Selected as a Mission Specialist in 1978 in the first group of shuttle astronauts, Mike Mullane completed three missions and logged 356 hours aboard the Discovery and Atlantis shuttles. It was a dream come true. As a boy, Mullane could only read about space travel in science fiction, but the launch of Sputnik changed all that. Space flight became a possible dream and Mike Mullane set out to make it come true. In this absorbing memoir, Mullane gives the first-ever look into the often hilarious, sometime volatile dynamics of space shuttle astronauts - a class that included Vietnam War veterans, feminists, and propeller-headed scientists. With unprecedented candour, Mullane describes the chilling fear and unparalleled joy of space flight. As his career centred around the Challenger disaster, Mullane also recounts the heartache of burying his friends and colleagues. And he pulls no punches as he reveals the ins and outs of NASA, frank in his criticisms of the agency. A blast from start to finish, Riding Rockets is a straight-from-the-gut account of what it means to be an astronaut, just in time for this latest generation of stargazers.

Frequently Bought Together

Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut + Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys + The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America's Race in Space
Price For All Three: 32.27

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd; Reprint edition (3 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743276833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743276832
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.4 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 82,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Funny, harrowing, tragic..."Riding Rockets" is a thrill, from start to finish." -- "St. Louis Post-Dispatch"

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the Bill Bryson of space travel 3 May 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've been waiting for this book since I was a kid watching the first landing on the Moon on TV. It is something completely different from what I read till now about the space program. To say that Mike Mullane is the Bill Bryson of space travel is to underestimate him. You will not only appreciate the story, the inside view on the US space program (including the permanent mismanagement). You will also learn about a real dream love: the one with his wife, Donna. What is really outstanding in Mike is the chase for the "ultimate honesty". He constantly refuse the "politically correct" approach and goes straigth to the core of our relations to space travels, dreams, technology, relation with... women, with his boss and with... the girl of his dream, in this case another Astronaut tragically dead in the Challenger accident. The last pages in particular are surprisingly good and poetic. I would never expect something like that from a funny book like this.

Thanks, Mike, for your honesty.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
There are a good number of astronaut biographies available. Inevitably there is fair amount of repetition sometimes straying towards telling you what SHOULD have happened rather than what DID happen. But Mike's book is different. This is the story of what it's all about being an astronaut: nuts and bolts, human weaknesses, bureaucracy, chauvanism, fear, elation, reality. But above all the need to fly into space. If you were to read only one astronaut biography, then this should be it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Riding rockets 17 Sep 2009
If you enjoy reading NASA's stories of manned space exploration that are primarily focused on the Apollo program hopefully you will also enjoy this book which will give you an insight from the point of view of one man's personal experiences inside NASA during the 70s,80s and early 90s.
It gives fascinating detail of how the astronauts cope with daily routines that on earth are relatively simple to achieve but became a different matter inside the space shuttle. The book does not give a large amount of information on the technical layout or functions of the shuttle or even for the astronauts' training program, but it is very entertaining, easy to read and actually gives an idea of what it was like for an exclusively male's world to have to cope with the introduction and intergration of women to their workplace-space.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Astronaut Autobiography Ever! 23 Feb 2006
This is a wonderful book.
The next nearest 'Deke', is very good.
Mike Mullane pulls out all of the stops. If I have a criticism it could be that he almost seems to push himself as definitely *not* the NASA puppet. Well, I'm sure he's not.
I think this is an honest work, Mullane's references to (for example) Judith Resnik really weighed on my heart. I hadn't shed a tear for Challenger for a long time.
There's fascinating stuff about how Mullane learns how not to be a sexist pig (read it!), how he learned how wonderful his wife is. There's a lot about the terror of a shuttle launch, (Space Truck? Dangerous experimental spaceplane?), pointing out the problems of that vehicle and management difficulties.
Just read it. There are amazingly honest references to emotional issues. Physiological issues (how do you pee (etc)in space?), what happens when the space toilet breaks?
This is good. I've read loads of space-related bios and they often seem full of irrelevent 'pre-space' detail. The 'pre-space' detail here is fascinating and is very relevant to what comes
later. 10/10.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Up like a rocket 6 Mar 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent and honest autobiography. Unlike the old adage "up like a rocket and down like its stick" this just keeps getting better and better. It contains many laugh out loud moments and it conveys the childish humour of the military men in a clear and amusing manner.

The problems with NASA management have been covered elsewhere but they are brought to life when our hero is left dangling by the Machiavellian machinations of those who select the crews to fly.

If you ever wanted to be an astronaut when you were young then this the book for you.
Yes it was dangerous, gruelling and demanding but at the end of the day it was the best job off earth!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly excellent 18 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Extremely well written and engaging it truly captures the life and times of the shuttle crews, and of course the authors pathway up into space. Believable and sensnsitively composed, it gives the rest of us mere mortals an insight into the driving forces compelling those living at the edge to risk everything to achieve astronaut status. Don't miss out on this... its more than a book, its an experience..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An education on the space shuttle programme 20 Sep 2011
As a self confessed space nut I try to read as much about the various space programmes as possible. Unfortunatley I was beginning to read books that pretty much repeated what I had just read making the task of reading about the programmes tedious. So when I was browsing the space section in my local book shop I saw this book. I realised that I was relatively naive about the shuttle programme seeing as it had become seen as routine by the time that I got interested in the space programmes. I decided to buy it and read it to give me a break from all the Apollo era books that are available. I'm so glad that I did. The book deals almost exclusively with the astronaut portion of the authors career with only a few trips back to his childhood and formative years. The author has only included these parts where necessary and therefore gives real depth and resonance to the story that is being told. I absolutely demolished this book and was suprised to realise that I had read it in a week. It does not read like a traditional autobiography, I would best describe it like being sat on the floor listening to your grand-parents talking about their past experiences when you were younger. The way that Mike Mullane kept my attention was very reminicent of these memories. It reads so easily that it captivated me immediatley.

The book covers really some 15 years of Mike Mullane's career and throughout which covers some big moments that I was not aware of (the damage to the shuttle at launch that was being ignored was particularly shocking)some of which lead to the destruction of Challenger and Columbia.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing read for an insight into the life of an astronaut
Having visited KSC on holiday a few years ago I became fascinated about the whole space process and the amazing engineering required to send such an amazing rocket into space. Read more
Published 2 months ago by d church
5.0 out of 5 stars Could Not Put It Down
Fantastically entertaining read - thoroughly recommend this book on space exploration and as my title states, i could not put it down!
Published 3 months ago by Occibx
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it...
Great book. Fascinating and brutally honest with laugh out loud moments. It is worth reading CDR Hadfield's recent book too; as a contrast.
Published 3 months ago by Simon
5.0 out of 5 stars moving yet brilliant read
Great read thoroughly enjoyed it informative exciting and quite moving in places. Gave me a newfound respect for astronauts and the job they do.
Published 5 months ago by Barry Twomey
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely superb
Calling 'Riding Rockets' superb almost doesn't do it justice.

Of all the astronaut biographies, this is undoubtedly one of the best - startling honest through, Mullane... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr. Gareth J. Stringer
4.0 out of 5 stars Ground Control to Colonel Mike ...
It's not about an astronaut, but alot more. Mike's opening gambit of an enema to produce "dazzling pipes" for astronaut selection shows someone so singularly focussed to do... Read more
Published 8 months ago by M. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind the facade
Whilst not denying the wonders of space and the success of the manned space programme of the USA, this book also provides a significant window into the flawed politics at... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Nimrod
4.0 out of 5 stars Reach for the stars
Having been brought up in the days of Mercury, Gemeni and Apollo I bought this book with a certain amount of trepidation as i knew little about the shuttle programme. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Esiotrot
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting
This book is so good if you want a real insight into NASAs astronaut programmes. The process of being an astronaut in the 1980s is described in great detail, along with the moods... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Carys Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read
As an ex-military airman myself, albeit in a much smaller unit than Mike, I could relate to his humour and viewpoint. Read more
Published 12 months ago by JAFO
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