An excellent book about NASA's pioneering activities in space,
This review is from: How NASA Learned to Fly in Space: An Exciting Account of the Gemini Missions (Apogee Books Space) (Paperback)
It may be contentious to say this, but in many ways the Gemini project is more interesting to students of the American moon landing programme than the better-known Apollo project. This because NASA were, as the title of this book makes clear, learning pretty much everything about space flight from scratch.
Was rendezvous possible? Could humans live and work in zero gravity? Would the radiation in earth orbit be a health hazard? Could a computer be built to handle spacecraft systems and navigation? Was space-walking feasible? Could a suitable ground tracking network be built? NASA knew that they had to answer these questions, and many more, if they were to stand any chance of going to moon, and the Gemini project was their learning tool. Every Gemini mission contained activities that were being performed for the first time by the Americans, and that comes through very clearly in this book, adding a real sense of drama and excitement to what is also a very well written description of the Gemini missions.
David Harland knows his stuff and, more importantly, is able to write in a style which is both informative and interesting. The subject requires this to be a moderately technical book, but you definitely don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand it so don't worry if you are not an expert on astronautics. Also space flight is never routine and this means that it is also a tale of human endeavour, something which Harland also manages to convey.
If you are interested in the history of space exploration this book definitely deserves a place on your shelf.
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