After the Apollo program put 12 men on the moon and safely brought them home, anything seemed possible. In this spirit, the team at NASA set about developing the space shuttle, arguably the most complex piece of machinery ever created. The world's first reusable spacecraft, it launched like a rocket, landed like a glider, and carried out complicated missions in between. Bold They Rise tells the story of the space shuttle through the personal experiences of the astronauts, engineers, and scientists who made it happen - in space and on the ground, from the days of research and design through the heroic accomplishments of the program to the tragic last minutes of the Challenger disaster. In the participants' own voices, we learn what so few are privy to: what it was like to create a new form of spacecraft, to risk one's life testing that craft, to float freely in the vacuum of space as a one-man satellite, to witness a friend's death. A "guided tour" of the shuttle - in historical, scientific, and personal terms - this book provides a fascinating, richly informed, and deeply personal view of a feat without parallel in the human story.
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The best of the series.
I've read several books on NASA and its history, but I still loved this one and learned a great deal. (Particularly about how the shuttle ended up with the form it had, and all the politicking that went into it.) For those who want to look at how it really got built.) Hearing the thoughts of the early shuttle crews was fascinating. (And listening to the story of Challenger made me angry all over again, particularly given my familiarity with the Columbia tragedy seventeen years later.)
He does an excellent job of narrating it, making it very clear when he's quoting what others said in interviews without trying to give each person a different voice. It sounded like there were two different people narrating - one who narrated things that were going on and a different one for when he was speaking in first person. It threw me at first when he read "Wheels Stop", but I expected and even enjoyed it this time. He does a great job!
Hearing the other astronauts speak of losing Challenger and her crew so absolutely needlessly.
Highly recommend this for NASA geeks. If you're not particularly interested in the shuttle program or NASA's inner workings, it likely won't hold your attention.
- J. Ritt