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4.0 out of 5 stars Missing Some Important Material About Being An Astronaut, Oct. 26 2002
By 
John R. Keller (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Women Astronauts: Apogee Books Space Series 25 (Paperback)
In the past four years, Apogee Books has compiled a variety NASA documents, press kits, crew interviews and the like, which recount the early days of the space race, focusing primarily on the race to be the first country to land a man on the moon. For the latest installment in the Apogee Space series, the author examines a facet of space exploration that was missing during the Apollo era. That is, women astronauts. One important thing to note, as stated by the author on the back cover, this book is geared towards girls and young women and as such the book is a bit light on technical details.
The book opens with a nice overview of a typical space shuttle mission and living on orbit and covers such things as sleeping, eating, clothes, working, etc. The book then covers an early woman in space program called FLATS - First Lady Astronaut Trainee, which was a program to examine the possibility of putting women into space in the 1960's. Here, the book, unlike some other texts on the subject, accurately presents the FLATS program as only a medical study of several female subjects undergoing the same medical tests that the NASA astronauts did and not a parallel program to the all-male Mercury program. It is important to note that the FLATS could have lead to women in space, however, the program was killed by the Johnson Administration. Next, the book presents, a chronological history of women in space and all their achievements. The book then presents one to two page biographies on all the women astronauts (Russian, NASA and other countries) that have flown and all the candidate astronauts. The section encompasses approximately 60% of the book. The book then concludes with an extremely interesting section on space medicine related to women and what it takes to be an astronaut.
While I feel that this book is a worthy additional to the series, I also feel that the author left out several important aspects of these astronaut's careers as well as what they do at NASA when they are not flying in space. One of the first things that struck right was the lack of information describing the military careers of these astronauts. For example, many of these women have had impressive military careers such as test pilots and have achieved a high military rank. Even though flying in space is the most visible and probably most exciting part of an astronaut's job, their duties consist of much much more. For example, astronauts are involved in spacecraft design, training, spacesuit design, biological experiments and the list goes on and on. A description of this aspect of their job is not presented.
As is typical of the books in the Apogee Space Series, it contains a Compact Disc that includes approximately eight hours of interviews with several women astronauts. Interviewed astronauts are: Ellen Baker, Kalpana Chalwa Eileen Collins, Bonnie Dunbar, Anna Fisher, Linda Godwin, Ellen Ochoa, Heidi Stefanyshyn-Piper.
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5.0 out of 5 stars For Budding Female Astronauts, Aug. 24 2002
By 
G. R. S. Godwin "GRSGodwin" (Naperville, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Women Astronauts: Apogee Books Space Series 25 (Paperback)
I'm one of the team who published this book and worked closely with Laura. We decided that it was very important to try to get young women interested in Space again, after all if Space is going to be a boys club it is doomed to failure.
We interviewed many of the women who have already flown in space, some on video on the CD Rom which is included in the book. We had wonderful help from Bonnie Dunbar in the making of this book.
One of the key elements was that we wanted to make the astronaut more easily understood for a young woman. (Not just what her PhD was) So we asked them about their childhoods: what was their favorite book, toy, movie, etc., as well as what sports they played, what other activities they enjoyed, and how they first became interested in space. The answers were amazing and we all learned much about what makes these amazing women tick.
They truly are a beacon for our children to emulate. This book is designed to help any young girl to follow her dreams especially if those dreams involve being involved in our species future in space.
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Women Astronauts: Apogee Books Space Series 25
Women Astronauts: Apogee Books Space Series 25 by Laura S. Woodmansee (Paperback - July 1 2002)
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