on 29 June 2002
Great coverage of the topic and very comprehensive. I have collected many books which describe the whole Apollo mission history and background, but rarely has anything come close to the lavish colour illustrations on virtually every page, the 4 page foldouts of a Saturn 5 and the moonscape panoramas. The books typesetting is creative and the text descriptive and well balanced with the details. And about time too...
on 6 October 2005
If you liked the movie Apollo 13 and Tom Hanks' series From the Earth to the Moon and want to know more about the Apollo program, this book is the best on the shelf. It summarizes all aspects of Apollo well and does so with an excellent selection of photographs. The quality of the book - weighty, large format, glossy paper - makes it an excellent present. It won't be meaty enough for engineering types, but add Andrew Chaiken's book From the Earth to the Moon and Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins' Carrying the Fire to your order and you will have a very enjoyable and informative mini collection of Apollo reading.
For Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, and Ilan Ramon.
I read this book as a layperson not as an engineer, or someone who has an encyclopedic knowledge that an amateur can gain when an interest becomes a serious hobby, or a consuming subject for study. I was going to suggest there were only two ways to read this book but I finished the volume early Saturday morning several hours prior to the loss of the Columbia Shuttle and the 7 men and women she carried.
If this book contains errors about the size of a tank, or the function of a part, that is inexcusable. This book contains written endorsements from more than one Apollo Astronaut, and it would seem that if there is information that is going to be offered as fact it should be correct.
The book is a treasure to anyone who lived and experienced parts of the wonder that was The Apollo Program. This does not excuse the errors if they exist, but it is not reason enough to condemn the value of the book, or ridicule it as a picture book for children.
What quickly became apparent after the tragedy yesterday is how far out of touch the public has become with the men and women who perform these missions, gather knowledge, and do so in situations that contain a level of risk that few people would ever contemplate much less take. The Apollo astronauts, the Gemini astronauts, and the Mercury astronauts were men that we all knew by name. Movies have been made about the original Mercury 7, more recently a film about the miraculous team effort that snatched the crew of Apollo 13 from what should have been certain death was brought to the screen by Ron Howard and a host of wonderful actors including Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise, Bill Paxton, and Ed Harris to name only a few.
The Apollo Program was unprecedented, 400,000 people were required to put the program and vehicles together to place men on the Moon. But when the program was ended no money was budgeted to even save all the working documents it took to create Apollo. If we wanted to recreate Apollo the absurd situation is that we would have to do research and development all over again because the records were not properly archived. One of the greatest achievements of humans, and so much of the work is gone.
On January 27, 1967, Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White died without leaving the ground, when the capsule of Apollo I burned them to death in a pure oxygen atmosphere which a short circuit ignited.
On January 28, 1986 the 7 Challenger astronauts died less than 75 seconds after launch. Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe were those persons willing to push the boundries of human exploration on that tragic day.
And then yesterday, 9 hours after January 2002 had ended, the men and women at the beginning of these comments lost their lives for reasons as yet unknown.
The Challenger 7 were eulogized by countless people, but on the day of their deaths one of the most eloquent speakers ever concluded his remarks as follows; The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honoured us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God. President Ronald Reagan