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John R. Keller (Houston, TX United States)
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Gemini 12: The NASA Mission Reports: Apogee Books Space Series 40
Gemini 12: The NASA Mission Reports: Apogee Books Space Series 40
by Steve Whitfield
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.52
26 used & new from CDN$ 11.47

5.0 out of 5 stars Great as Usual, April 3 2004
Over the past five years, Robert Godwin and Apogee Books have compiled a variety of various NASA documents, press kits, crew interviews and the like, which recount the early days of the space race and with specific emphasis on the Apollo missions. As is obvious from the title, this book does not focus on any Apollo mission, but the final Gemini mission, Gemini 12. With the launch of this mission, one of the most successful manned space flight projects came to an end. The mission focused on rendezvous and docking; however, the most important aspect of this mission was the testing and evaluation of the Extravehicular Activities (EVA). Veteran astronaut James Lovell who was making his second trip into space commanded this mission, while rookie astronaut Buzz Aldrin conducted the EVAs. By all accounts, this mission was extremely successful and proved that man could function in space outside of the spacecraft.
Like many of the other volumes in this NASA Mission Report series, the book opens with the usual NASA press releases and mission press kit. It is easy to tell that the author and his staff have spent some time searching for some very clean originals, since compared to their earlier efforts the scanned in drawings are almost perfect. In addition, to the customary background information, the press kit focuses on the scientific and operational aspects of the mission including a nice summary of all the Gemini missions. The next section contains the Gemini 12 Summary Operations Report, which presents a basic overview of the planned activities of the mission, including the EVA timelines. A small six page report summaries the Gemini program accomplishedments.
The next section, the crew debrief section, covers over half of the book, and is 140 pages long. This part contains the crew's comments and feelings about various phases of the mission. Unlike a lot of the previously published crew debriefings, this one is fairly technical and uses a lot of undefined NASA acronyms. Most of the pages in this section are devoted to the EVAs and as one would expect, Buzz Aldrin does most of the talking. There are nice sections on the rendezvous and docking as well as general spacecraft performance through out the mission. Here James Lovell is much more involved in the debriefing.
The final section of the book includes a seldom seen report about modifying the Gemini capsule and launch vehicle, so that it could be launch towards the moon and eventuully enter lunar orbit. While the report does not present a lot of technical detail, but it does show that was possible to use the Gemini capsule for lunar operations.
As usual the book also contains a CD that is loaded with a variety of interesting features. The CD contains over 400 photographic still images that appear to be in high resolution and focuses on the EVAs, Earth Observations, and rendezvous and docking. The CD contains 16mm camera footage, a NASA mission movie, and the mission Air-to Ground transcript. The CD also contains a nice interview with James Lovell.
Some general information that might be useful.
1) These reports are just scanned-in documents from previously released NASA press kits, etc., In order to preserve the spirit of the original reports, all typographical and grammatical errors have NOT been fixed.
2) Proceeds from the book goes to "The Watch" an asteroid impact research project of the Space Frontier Foundation. In other words, Apogee Books is making very little off the sale of US government produced books and documents.
3) Many people have asked why the post mission reports are not included. Since NASA has published several books with hundred of pages each (The NASA SP series), it would be difficult to included this voluminous amount of data.

Sigma 7: The NASA Mission Reports: Apogee Books Space Series 37
Sigma 7: The NASA Mission Reports: Apogee Books Space Series 37
by Steve Whitfield
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.61
15 used & new from CDN$ 9.67

5.0 out of 5 stars More Great NASA Publications At Your Fingertips, Nov. 8 2003
Captain Wally Schirra was one of the seven Mercury Astronauts named by NASA in April 1959. On October 3, 1962; he piloted the six orbit Sigma 7 Mercury flight; a flight which lasted 9 hours, 15 minutes. The spacecraft attained a velocity of 17,557 miles per hour at an altitude of 175 statue miles and traveled almost 144,000 statute miles before re-entry into the earth's atmosphere. Recovery of the Sigma 7 spacecraft occurred in the Pacific Ocean about 275 miles northeast of Midway Island. His flight was considered a critical flight in the manned space flight program, since the previous two Mercury flights experienced major malfunctions (Scott Carpenter's overshot of the landing site and John Glenn's reentry shield problem).
The book opens with the usual NASA press kit, which covers the basics of the mission, the major hardware components of the Mercury capsule, mission objectives and a biography of the astronaut. The next section of the book contains numerous one and two pages News Releases that cover specific topics of the mission. The next section contains a very interesting scanned in pamphlet called "The Six Orbits of Sigma 7" which as the title indicates provides an overview of his mission. This NASA produced promotional brochure contains many highlights of the mission, from the training exercises, the flight to the splashdown and post-flight celebration tour. It is loaded with numerous black and white photographs, many of which showcase Wally Schirra's personal life.
The next section contains the Flight Operations Debriefing of the mission. The portion of the book is a question and answer section between Wally Schirra and members of the Flight Operations Directorate and was conducted immediately after splashdown. This debriefing contains the astronaut's opinion on the functioning of the capsule. From the answers given in this section, it is clear why Wally Schirra was chosen as an astronaut. His answers are highly technical and give the spacecraft designers an excellent insight to the operation of the Mercury capsule This section maybe difficult for some to follow, since there are numerous undefined NASA acronyms and references to specific pieces of equipment (individual switches), which are probably known only to the astronauts and the designers of the capsule.
The section of the book contains the NASA Special Publication, "Results of the Third United States Manned Orbital Flight, October 3, 1962." This piece discusses the performance of the spacecraft and the launch vehicle, the flight controllers, and the astronaut together with a detailed analysis of the medical aspects of the flight.
As is typical for all the books in the Mission Reports series, this book contains a CD that includes additional material. The CD contains a NASA produced film titled, "The Flight of Sigma 7." The CD also contains a pdf of the hard-to-find NASA Special Publication, Space Medicine In Project Mercury (SP-4003). Finally, the CD has a short interview with Wally Schirra.
Some general information that might be useful.
1) These reports are just scanned-in documents from previously released NASA press kits, etc., In order to preserve the spirit of the original reports, all typographical and grammatical errors have NOT been fixed.
2) Proceeds from the book goes to "The Watch" an asteroid impact research project of the Space Frontier Foundation. In other words, Apogee Books is making very little off the sale of US government produced books and documents.

Earth And The Moon
Earth And The Moon
by Ron Miller
Edition: Library Binding
Price: CDN$ 21.39
13 used & new from CDN$ 1.47

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Good Book for Kids and Adults, July 3 2003
Anyone who has ever looked at the night sky, has probably spent some time examining the moon and how it waxes and wanes across the sky. In this book, the author and artist of numerous astronautical, astronomical and science-friction illustrations and texts, examines the latest scientific findings and theories about our nearest planetary body. A significant portion of the book covers the latest and most accepted theory regarding the creation of the moon and its impact on the formation of the Earth. The book also outlines the latest theories on the evolution of life on our planet and the geology of the planet, past, present and future. The book concludes with a brief examination of the current state of the Earth and the manned and unmanned exploration of the moon.
While this book is geared towards teenagers, most adults would definitely learn something as well. By the way, I found this book in my library's adult section.

Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
by Dorling Kindersley
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from CDN$ 9.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A Long Overdue Book - Spectacular!!!, March 2 2003
This review is from: Space Shuttle (Hardcover)
It seems hard to believe that the first space shuttle launch happened almost 22 years ago. During that time, hundreds of astronauts and cosmonauts both men and women, from many different countries have flown in space onboard this marvel of engineering. This book recounts the adventures of those who have flown onboard the space shuttle, using high quality, color photographs and a small amount of accompanying text (a few paragraphs to a few pages) provided by the astronauts and as the title states, in their own words. I've always felt that a large format, coffee table style book dedicated to the space shuttle program was long overdue.
This book is divided into two distinct parts: A chronology of the first twenty years of missions and then a section that examines an entire space shuttle mission from training to launch and then to landing. These two sections are loaded with many different stories such as the wonder of being in space and viewing our home planet, preparing and eating meals in space, a humorous story of the operation of the space toilet, the use of Mir, the construction of the International Space Station and of course the terrible times associated with the Challenger explosion. It is nice to see that through all the triumphs and trails of space exploration, these people who many hold up as modern day heroes, are just as human as the rest of us, and are filled with awe of this great adventure into the unknown.
The book also contains an Appendix that provides an excellent summary of all the missions that occurred during the first twenty years of shuttle operations. In addition, there is also a nice overview section, which briefly examines shuttle systems, astronauts training and shuttle operations.
One final thought, since the book celebrates the first twenty years of space shuttle flights, there is not any information related to the loss of the Columbia. Maybe the authors of this book will be able to produce an equally excellent book as a tribute to the Columbia. Here's hoping.

Asteroid Rendezvous: NEAR Shoemaker's Adventures at Eros
Asteroid Rendezvous: NEAR Shoemaker's Adventures at Eros
by Jim Bell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 59.16
31 used & new from CDN$ 15.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Book About A Great Space Mission, Feb. 18 2003
The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission was the first of NASA's "Faster, Better Cheaper" spacecraft. Its primary mission was to orbit the asteroid 433 Eros, thereby becoming the first robotic explorer to orbit and eventually land on an asteroid. On the journey to Eros, NEAR flew by the main-belt asteroid Mathilde as well as our home planet, the Earth and returned dozens of pictures; however, the journey to Eros was almost lost when a software error caused the main engine to shut down prematurely. Due to the efforts the engineers and scientists supporting this project, the space probe was saved and the NEAR mission became one of the most successful NASA missions. In the end, the mission returned with hundreds of thousands of images, spectra, and other measurements about the large near-Earth asteroid Eros.
In this book, the author, Jim Bell, a planetary scientist and professor at Cornell, has assembled nine different articles about various aspects of this mission into one concise book about all aspects of this specular mission. The book opens with a chapter providing an overview of Eros and then moves into two chapters dedicated to the spacecraft and its mission, and its trip to Eros, from launch to rendezvous. The remaining chapters cover the different discovers made by the NEAR spacecraft, such as its overall landscape, its history, and several on its geology. There is also one chapter, which explains the photography planning, and eventual execution of this plan.
In general, I did not find the book to be very technical and there is a glossary of terms to help the layman as well as numerous photographs, figures and graphs are found throughout the book to further explain a given topic.
If you are interested in planetary exploration or the space program in general, this book would an excellent addition to your library.

Apollo 13: The NASA Mission Reports: Apogee Books Space Series 9
Apollo 13: The NASA Mission Reports: Apogee Books Space Series 9
by Robert Godwin
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from CDN$ 4.39

5.0 out of 5 stars The Technical Side of the Apollo 13 Mission, Feb. 7 2003
Over the past few years the saga of Apollo 13 has been recounted in several books (Jim Lovell's Lost Moon, Gene Kranz's Failure is Not an Option and Chris Kraft's Flight) and the Blockbuster movie, Apollo 13. While these books and movies have provided an excellent overview of this "Successful Failure," and the role that Mission Control played in it, technical details associated with the explosion of the spacecraft are not discussed in any great detail. This latest volume from Apogee does just that.
Apollo 13 was planned to be NASA's third lunar landing and the first one dedicated to scientific exploration. The Lunar Module was scheduled to land at Fra Mauro with commander Jim Lovell who making his fourth space mission and second to the moon and rookie Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise. Jack Swigert, who was the Command Module Pilot, replaced Ken Mattingly only days before launch remained in orbit.
Like most of the other volumes in this NASA Mission Report series, the book opens with the usual NASA mission press kit. This press kit is more detailed than the previous mission, Apollo 12, because it contains detailed information about the lunar surface activities and experiments. It is interesting to note that due to late addition of Jack Swigert to the crew, Ken Mattingly is still listed as the Command Module Pilot. The next of the book contains the Post Launch Mission Operation Report, which is essentially a moderately technical summary of all the highlights of the mission.
The next section of the book, contains the crew debrief section, and covers about 25% of the book and is 67 pages long. This debriefing was conducted only a few days after the splashdown. As one would expect, much of this section deals with the accident and their flight around the moon and back to earth; however, there many portions devoted to crew training, launch, observation of the moon and more. This section maybe difficult for many to follow, since there are numerous undefined NASA acronyms and references to specific pieces of equipment in the Command Module (individual switches) which probably only the astronauts and the designers of the Apollo capsule know.
The final section of the book is the transcripts of the House Committee on Science and Astronautics Hearings and the report that was submitted to this committee. It is in this portion of the book that contains the most technical descriptions of the accident. There are detailed timelines of the mission and accident, documentation related to the construction of the oxygen tank and numerous photographs.
As usual in all the Mission Reports series, the book contains a CD that includes additional material. The CD contains all the 70mm Hassalblad photographs which includes some spectacular views of the far side of the moon and the crew before and after the oxygen tank explosion. Also included on the CD is an interview with Jim Lovell, the post landing press conference (over an hour long) and several NASA videos.
Some general information that might be useful.
1) These reports are just scanned-in documents from previously released NASA press kits, etc., In order to preserve the spirit of the original reports, all typographical and grammatical errors have NOT been fixed.
2) Proceeds from the book goes to "The Watch" an asteroid impact research project of the Space Frontier Foundation. In other words, Apogee Books is making very little off the sale of US government produced books and documents.

Thermal Radiation Heat Transfer
Thermal Radiation Heat Transfer
by Robert Siegel
Edition: Library Binding
11 used & new from CDN$ 50.54

5.0 out of 5 stars The Definative Book on Thermal Radiative Heat Transfer, Jan. 29 2003
Thermal Radiation Heat Transfer by Robert Siegel and John Howell is probably the ,most widely used text for graduate students and is the book I have probably used more than any other in my professional engineering career. Originally published in the 1960's as a NASA Special Publication (SP-164), this book has been significantly updated three times since its initial published in 1972. In this latest version of the book, the authors cover the standard radiation heat transfer topics, such as the Stefan-Boltzmann relation, blackbody radiation, the various forms of optical surfaces properties (emissivity, transmissivity, absorptivity, diffuse, specular and much more), and an enclosure analysis. Topics, which are often overlooked in other textbooks, such as gas radiation, scattering, multi-mode heat, the Maxwell relationships, are given a thorough examination in this book. Furthermore, this latest edition of the book includes a CD-ROM contains a catalog of 290 configuration factors in algebraic or graphical form, plus homework problems. Finally, if you are looking for an excellent textbook which covers almost aspects of radiation heat, this book is a must, especially for those people planning of a career in which is involved with heat transfer.

For Spacious Skies: The Uncommon Journey of a Mercury Astronaut
For Spacious Skies: The Uncommon Journey of a Mercury Astronaut
by Scott Carpenter
Edition: Hardcover
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, Jan. 29 2003
Scott Carpenter was selected as one of the original seven Mercury Astronauts on April 9, 1959 and flew the second American manned orbital flight on May 24, 1962. This flight was only the fourth manned launch for the United States. During his flight aboard the Aurora 7 spacecraft, he made three revolutions of the Earth, reaching a maximum altitude of 164 miles for a total flight time of 4 hours and 54 minutes. With the exception of Deke Slayton, who was sidelined with heart arrhythmia, Scott Carpenter is the only Mercury Seven astronaut who only made one spaceflight. As one would probably expect, including this reader, with such a small amount of space flight to his name that there could hardly be much to write about. I must, however, admit I was wrong and Scott Carpenter and his daughter have written a wonderful and extremely interesting book about his life from his birth to his leaving NASA.
The book opens with quite a lengthy section about Scott Carpenter's childhood from age two when he left New York and moved to Colorado through his high school years, which is about a fifth of the book. Such a long section devoted to one's youth is atypical of most astronaut biographies, however, this portion book serves an excellent introduction to the man's character. In contrast to the other Mercury Seven astronauts who came from the traditional 1920's family setting, he was raised by maternal grandparents, because of an absent father and a mother who suffered tuberculosis. He feels that this upbringing gave him the abilities to become an astronaut, but also led to him to three failed marriages ending in divorced and a final fourth marriage. .
A few years after he enters high school, the United States becomes involved in World War II and upon graduation he joins the Navy's V12 program where receives pilot training and a college education. Even though the war ends before he sees combat, he eventually chooses a career as Navy pilot which moves him through a variety of interesting assignments from patrol aircraft to test piloting.
The remaining half of the book covers the selection process of the Mercury 7 group, the selection, the subsequent training and his eventual three-orbit flight. This section contains much more information on the selection process and training of the Mercury 7 astronauts than any other first hand account. Very little, however, is devoted to his post-flight life other than a few pages. In this section, many of the questions that have dogged him since his selection are answered. For example, "Why was he chosen especially when one compares his flight and test piloting record to those of his peers?" "Why did he only fly once?" and well as other question are addressed. I'll leave it to the readers to discover the answers to these questions. I promise you'll be surprised.
Those familiar with the Chris Kraft book, Flight, know that Mr. Kraft has an extremely low opinion of Scott Carpenter and his skill at piloting a spacecraft. In this book, Scott Carpenter recounts his spaceflight, using both his personal recollection and ground to air and air to ground transcripts which allows the reader to make up his mind on who is blame. It is has always been my opinion that the truth usually lies in between the two.
As I said earlier, I was amazed that the astronaut with the shortest amount of total flight time could actually write a book about his life as an astronaut. I must, however, admit I was wrong and Scott Carpenter along his daughter have written a wonderful and extremely interesting book that definitely is one of the better astronaut biographies.

Venus
Venus
by Ron Miller
Edition: Library Binding
Price: CDN$ 21.39
11 used & new from CDN$ 0.62

5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book for Kids and Adults, Dec 24 2002
This review is from: Venus (Library Binding)
Venus is the second planet out from the sun and the planet that orbits closet to our own planet. It is often called Earth's sister; however, numerous Russian and American robotic space probes have shown that Venus is covered with an extremely thick atmosphere (100 times the Earth's pressure) with clouds of sulfuric acid and surface temperatures that will melt lead; however, the surface of Venus is geologically very young. In this book, the author and artist of numerous astronautical, astronomical and science-friction illustrations and texts, examines the latest scientific findings and theories about our nearest planetary neighbor. In addition, the author also presents some of the mythology and historical observations associated with this planet.
While this book is geared towards teenagers, most adults would definitely learn something as well. By the way, I found this book in my library's adult section.

Apollo 17: The NASA Mission Reports Vol 1: Apogee Books Space Series 29
Apollo 17: The NASA Mission Reports Vol 1: Apogee Books Space Series 29
by Robert Godwin
Edition: Paperback
16 used & new from CDN$ 15.50

5.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a Disappointment, Dec 11 2002
If I could, I'd give this book four and a half stars, since it is really not up to the standards of the previous editions. I gave it five stars, however, because others might not agree with my opinion on why it is not as good as the previous Mission Reports.
With the publication of this book, Robert Godwin and Apogee Books have provided at least one volume of reproduced NASA material covering all of the manned Apollo missions. As is obvious from the title, this latest offering, examines Apollo 17, the final mission to the moon. Apollo 17 was the last of the three long duration (3 days) missions and again featured the lunar rover, which greatly extended the area that the two astronauts could explore. In addition, this mission included the only non-pilot, scientist astronaut, a geologist in this case, to explore the moon. The mission was commanded by veteran astronaut, Gene Cernan who was making his third trip into space, geologist and rookie Harrison "Jack" Schmidt accompanied Cernan to the lunar surface as the Lunar Module pilot and Ron Evans was the Command Module pilot.
Like many of the other volumes in this NASA Mission Report series, the book opens with the usual NASA mission press kit. It is easy to tell that the author and his staff spent some time searching for some very clean originals, since compared to their earlier efforts, such as Apollo 8, the scanned in drawings are almost perfect. Since this mission was the last lunar landing mission, it seems that NASA produced a much larger and more detailed press kit compared to its earlier Apollo mission press kits. In addition to the customary background information, the press kit focuses on the scientific aspects of the mission including some nice information on the often overlooked orbital photography observations and in flight experiments. The next section contains the Prelaunch Mission Operation Report, which presents a basic overview of the planned activities of the mission, including the EVA timelines. It is interesting to note that the format of these timelines is still used today to plan EVAs for the space station assembly. The next section presents the Post-Launch Mission Operation Report that provides a summary of the accomplished mission objectives and describes any Mission problems and deviations from these planned activities.
The final section, the crew debrief section, covers about 40% of the book, and is 95 pages long. This section contains the crew's comments and feelings about various phases of the mission from liftoff, to landing and even post flight activities. This crew debriefing is fairly technical and uses a lot of undefined NASA acronyms, which makes the reading a bit difficult, even for this NASA contractor employee. Very few pages in this section are devoted to the EVAs (8 pages) and orbital observations (4 pages) and all three astronauts go into great detail describing all aspects of their respective duties. I found it quite odd, that with all the emphasis on the lunar exploration being conducted by an onsite geologist, that there would be such a small discussion about the EVAs and the geological investigations. Reviewing the crew debriefing shows that Cernan and to some degree Evans dominated the conversations, while Schmidt only talked about specific areas like training. All in all; however, an interesting section.
As typical of all the books in the Mission Reports series, the book contains a CD that includes additional material. It is here that I felt the book let the reader (or viewer is this case) down. Unlike the other books in the series, the CD does not contain any of the still photographs. Instead it only contains complete video camera footage from the three EVAs and twenty-two panoramic views. I would have preferred the still photos in lieu the video transmissions.
Some general information that might be useful.
1) These reports are just scanned-in documents from previously released NASA press kits, etc., In order to preserve the spirit of the original reports, all typographical and grammatical errors have NOT been fixed.
2) Proceeds from the book goes to "The Watch" an asteroid impact research project of the Space Frontier Foundation. In other words, Apogee Books is making very little off the sale of US government produced books and documents.
3) Many people have asked why the post mission reports are not included. Since NASA has published several books with hundred of pages each (The NASA SP series), it would be difficult to included this voluminous amount of data.

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