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Liftoff : the Story of America's Adventure in Space Paperback – 1 Sep 1989
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The former astronaut traces America's ascent into space and the history of NASA, from the first faltering steps in 1960, to humankind's first small step on the moon's surface, to the 1986 Challenger tragedy.
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We see Collin's Gemini 10 experiences, his space walk and his Apollo 11 moon mission with him in charge of the command module. He explained his responsibilities on Apollo 11. There is also some explanation of the LEM and the Saturn5 heavy lifter.
I've read almost all the Astronaut books. Liftoff is great in that various spacecraft are explained and a little how they actually were operated. Examples are Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and the shuttle.
We learn the problems Mike had on his EVA on Gemini 10 and the exciting work he did on Apollo 11.
For me this was the first book that helped explained Skylab's operation... showers, sleeping arrangements, recreation, scientific studies. etc. The part of viewing the Sun's Corona is explained. A scientist on Skylab previously wrote a book about it. As an amateur astronomer of over 40 years, Liftoff made me want to learn more... so I'm getting that sun book.
Also the shuttle was explained in depth. An A plus rating on Skylab and Shuttle explanation. The tragic loss of Apollo1 and crew and loss of shuttle Challenger and crew are compared and explained. Also the commissions that went over Apollo 1 , crew loss and Challenger and crew loss are told and what they found. The badly engineered O ring on Challenger and bad management ladder of who was supposed to know what and what was supposed to be passed up to the top and what wasn't is explained.
The basic solar system was explained.
I really liked the last chapter. Mike really nailed it explaining man's space exploration will expand and even someday go to the stars. Make sure you read the last chapter... an uplift optimistic evaluation of man's ability and hopefully future accomplishments. Do yourself a favor get both Carrying The Fire and Liftoff... both great 5 star books by a great writer and INMO a true American hero Michael Collins. Liftoff an excellent book helping explain some of the details of various spacecraft and the men and much later women that were in the missions. For me a lot of new information learned even after reading dozens of other Astronaut books.
Mike is also big into wanting us to go to Mars. As a life member of the Mars Society I agree 100%. Mike Collins is on the ball, a class act and knows what he is talking about. Thanks Mike Collins for an excellent book 5 stars and I do share your optimistic views about man someday reaching the stars.
P.S. As an unexpected nice occurrence, the used book I bought had Michael Collins autograph.