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From the Trench of Mission Control to the Craters of the Moon: Stories from the Men of Mission Control's Flight Dynamics Group: The Trench Paperback – Sep 2 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Createspace (Sept. 2 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1466262389
  • ISBN-13: 978-1466262386
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,089,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amazon.com: HASH(0xa1fd0abc) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
HASH(0xa1cf942c) out of 5 stars The Real Get'er Done Guys Feb. 12 2016
By Randall Durk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book has a little something for everybody. First off, if your a manager or a supervisor you need to learn to be a Chris Kraft. Highly respected and did not let things fester. look at your options, make your decision and move on. Just seeing this man in documentaries gives you the feeling of a don't BS me. This book could be a good motivator and certain chapters could be used in a motivational talk on improving yourself in the work force. These guys came from coal mining towns, areas of Wyoming, Mississippi, Louisiana...everywhere. Knew how to fix things and get it done! Something I thing our work force lacks today. If your a tech person, plenty of NASA acronyms but the definition is beside them to not confuse the non tech person..example (LM) Lunar Module. Many interesting stories what I call behind the scenes at mission control. If you enjoy a good drink after work...plenty of after splashdown party stories. Not that these guys were drunks, but when you go from barely getting rockets off the ground to putting foot prints on the Moon in a decade there is pressure and sometimes a good drink is the ticket. The book was interesting enough it made me log on many times to see where these guys hung out at, and to my surprise some are still open. I will definitely have to go eat there someday just to say I was there having a scotch also. This book had men who landed their small planes and nosed it into the dirt, bent the propeller slightly...got out, bent it back with their knee and flew it back home. Guy's like John Lewellyn who after getting his parking privileges revoked rode a horse to work, then one night ran off the road in rain and walked through mud to get to work. What would someone do today probably? Call a tow truck and call in and say I won't be in. If you think the astronauts were special people, you MUST read this book to find out engineers and people in Mission Control got'em up there.
HASH(0xa1b91c78) out of 5 stars A New Favorite Amongst Space Books May 25 2014
By R. F. Mojica - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read dozens of books on the history of the US space program dealing with the days of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, and this is now one of my favorites.

First on the book itself and how it seems (to me) it was put together. I don't know for sure, of course, but it seems that a group of the flight controllers who worked for NASA during the glory days of the '60s and early '70s collected written reminiscences of those days in book form to give to their children and grandchildren so these kids would have an idea of what their fathers had done during those days, then published it privately through a subsidy publisher with the idea of distributing it to friends and family, and that the book worked out so well that they decided to offer it to the public. So it's not a fancy book. In design and layout, it's pretty much a no-frills affair. It contains a good number of photographs, and, for the most part, the reproductions are clear and well printed. Don't expect anything eye-catching or beautifully artistic. Graphically it's clean and easy to read but it's, like I said, no frills.

It's the content of the book that will grab you. When I was a kid, watching the Apollo flights on TV (I was too young for Mercury or Gemini), I was always fascinated by the shots from mission control. I didn't know exactly what the guys at the consoles were doing, but I knew it was important stuff, and, even though I knew the astronauts got all the glory, I had a feeling that the MOCR was the real place to be. While all the other kids wanted to be astronauts, I wanted to be one of the controllers in the MOCR, so this book was right down the alley of my greatest interest in following the space program.

The best thing in the book, and what by itself would make it worth the purchase price, is its first section—a book length autobiography of Glynn Lunney. Lunney was, along with Gene Kranz, one of the two best known of the NASA flight directors. He never got the press notice Kranz got and has continued to get over the years. I think there are a number of reasons for this, but the main one is that Kranz is a more picturesque character. He's a better interview, he looks like what you'd expect a NASA flight director to look like, with his hawk nose, his steely eye, his crew haircut. He has a sharp, clipped way of speaking, He has a knack for inspirational speeches and for coining slogans and, what I think the makers of documentaries really like, is the way he gets misty eyed and emotional when discussing the overcoming of crises during space flight. Kranz couldn't be more perfect for space documentaries if he had been cast for the part by Hollywood.

Lunney, on the other other hand, is a pretty ordinary looking guy. He might remind you of your high school physics teacher. I think he's a good interview and he seems to have a sense of humor, but he doesn't present the "character" that Gene Kranz does, and even in documentaries, film makers want easily identified characters that fit into a scheme of stereotypes. That said, it doesn't seem that there was any jealousy or rivalry between the two men. Kranz, because of his personality, was bound to be the more public figure while the lower-key Lunney seems to be satisfied to be appreciated by the "people who know". The two men had some things in common, particularly being raised as, and remaining, devout Roman Catholics, which was unusual in the very WASPy NASA of the 1960's, and each seems to bend over backwards in giving credit to the other in the managing of the spaceflights they worked on together.

Where there did seem to be some rivalry and conflict was between what I'll call the astronaut office and the controllers office (I don't think these were the proper terms, but they'll do). The astronaut office was headed by Deke Slayton (along with, later on, Alan Sherpherd), who looked out for the interests of the astronauts, while the controllers' office was headed by Chris Kraft. You can maybe compare this to a Hollywood set-up, where the Astronauts were the big stars, the names the public knew and loved and admired and whose lives they followed on TV, in newspapers and magazines, while the controllers were the unknown, unglamorous, almost faceless technicians who made the whole show go. Naturally, amongst the astronaut crew, there were a number of prima donnas, and their sometimes peevish behavior led to the conflicts mentioned above. The astronauts had a public stature they could use to bully their way through conflicts had it not been for one person—Chris Kraft, who not only stood behind his guys to the last ditch, but who also outranked, in the NASA scheme of leadership, both Slayton and Shepherd. He made it clear that when it came to disputes between the two groups that, for all the fame and glory the astronauts enjoyed, if mediation between the two groups failed, his guys would win. In all the numerous accounts in this book, the controllers are unstinting in their praise and appreciation of Kraft for his support, which is an antidote to some of the bad press Kraft sometimes gets from those who get their history just from the side of the astronauts (for example, read some of the reviews of Kraft's autobiography "Flight" on this website).

A particularly telling instance of this is Lunney's account of the flight of Apollo 7, which is famous for the "mutiny" that broke out between the Apollo 7 crew of Wally Schirra, Walt Cunningham and Donn Eisele. Lunney took the brunt of this "mutiny" and had to use patience, fortitude and a tightly held tongue in order to preserve for NASA a positive public image during what could have been an ugly public incident. Lunney compares the stalwart leadership of Kraft in maintaining the morale of his crew of controllers to that of Schirra, whose antics ruined the NASA careers of his crew mates Cunningham and Eisele, neither of whom ever got to fly again for NASA.

This book doesn't tell the complete story of mission control. The participants in the book are all drawn from the Flight Dynamics branch, nicknamed "The Trench" because of their position, in the MOCR, in the front row below the other consoles (hence the title of the book) and, besides Lunney, gives the first person accounts of Jerry Bostick, H. David Reed, Chuck Deiterich, Maurice Kennedy, Dutch von Ehrenfried, William Boone, and WIlliam Stoval. All are interesting and a lot of it is new—not necessarily new in the incidents they write about, but often a new, unheard perspective on those events.

If you are interested in the US space program during the days of Mercury (a little bit of info), Gemini (more info) and Apollo (a lot of info), you need to get this book and read it. It may not have the circulation or receive the publicity of books put out by major publishers, but the stories it has to tell are essential knowledge and very entertaining as well. As I've said, I've read a lot of books on the space program, and this one goes automatically to very near the top of my list.
HASH(0xa1b8c360) out of 5 stars Indispensable Nov. 9 2012
By DC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Glynn Lunney, Jerry Bostick, Steve Bale and their colleagues in Mission Control share their personal recollections of America's space program in this indispensable book. Thank God they got their stories into print, because regardless of how great the astronauts' memoirs are, they'd all be incomplete without the information captured in this book.
HASH(0xa1cdf2e8) out of 5 stars Great stories May 21 2013
By weispace - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great stories and info about the space missions and work Mission Control,
additionally supported by technical details.
For a long time space freak still new stuff and insight to the every day
life of the people involved in real space business.

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