Riding Rockets

Riding Rockets

The Outrageous Tales of A Space Shuttle Astronaut

eBook - 2006
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On February 1, 1978, the first group of space shuttle astronauts, twenty-nine men and six women, were introduced to the world. Among them would be history makers, including the first American woman and the first African American in space. This assembly of astronauts would carry NASA through the most tumultuous years of the space shuttle program. Four would die on Challenger. USAF Colonel Mike Mullane was a member of this astronaut class, and Riding Rockets is his story -- told with a candor never before seen in an astronaut's memoir. Mullane strips the heroic veneer from the astronaut corps and paints them as they are -- human. His tales of arrested development among military flyboys working with feminist pioneers and post-doc scientists are sometimes bawdy, often hilarious, and always entertaining. Mullane vividly portrays every aspect of the astronaut experience -- from telling a female technician which urine-collection condom size is a fit; to walking along a Florida beach in a last, tearful goodbye with a spouse; to a wild, intoxicating, terrifying ride into space; to hearing "Taps" played over a friend's grave. Mullane is brutally honest in his criticism of a NASA leadership whose bungling would precipitate the Challenger disaster. Riding Rockets is a story of life in all its fateful uncertainty, of the impact of a family tragedy on a nine-year-old boy, of the revelatory effect of a machine called Sputnik, and of the life-steering powers of lust, love, and marriage. It is a story of the human experience that will resonate long after the call of "Wheel stop."
Publisher: 2006
ISBN: 9780743296762
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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May 16, 2018

Above all else, Mike Mullane speaks the unpolished truth, as viewed from his own limited perspective. He writes with brutal matter-of-factness about his own vicious narrow-minded opinions at the onset of the introduction of women and non-military doctorate astronaut candidates in the class of 1978. He writes with bitterness about the Byzantine, completely opaque selection process used by George Abby and John Young to choose astronaut crews for the STS missions. He writes with frustration about the political machinations within NASA and without that often sacrificed more long-term space goals for shorter-term public relations objectives. And he combines it all the same unfitted joy of space and exploration common within other astronaut biographies. If you have any interest in the STS program, Mullane offers a unique, invaluable perspective. Includes analysis of both the Challenger and Columbia safety failures.

Jan 09, 2017

Extremely entertaining memoir. Mullane has this great ability to tell a thigh slapping joke on one page and bring you almost to tears on the next one. If you are interested in the space program and you want a really human face on it read Riding Rockets.

A word of warning for the sensitive reader Mullane is not politically correct. He has a military aviator's black sense of humor.

nymuseum Dec 24, 2013

I read this before and as the description notes he does write about his coming to terms with women in the astro corps. He is really funny at times. Mullane does also write about the disasters and says what I presume many want to say but politically hold back. To reviewer Rowergirl25. You did not read the whole book. You may desire to be an astro but not facing honesty and brutal facts will keep you out. Astro screening is VERY heavy into abilities to deal with multifaceted persons. There is a good podcast on iTunes with Mullane where he talks about the book and his own personality evolution as a cosmoperson.

Aug 13, 2013

Mullane, unfortunately is a sexist pig and it made this incredibly difficult to read. It's really too bad because I was very interested in the training and flights, but it was so painful I just couldn't complete it. I'm looking for another astronaut book that's written by an actual grown-up.


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