• Title: Countdown: A History of Space Flight
  • Author: T. A. Heppenheimer
  • Released: 1997-04-15
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 424
  • ISBN: 0471144398
  • ISBN13: 978-0471144397
  • ASIN: 0471144398
Countdown offers a technically detailed, historically rich narrative of the human quest to enter deep space. T. A. Heppenheimer, the author of touching on the history of aviation, traces the development of manned flight through the military rocketry programs of the pre-World War II era, writing of experiments that often ended disastrously until all the ingredients, physical and chemical, came together. Drawing on recently declassified documents, he studs his account with telling anecdotes. (In one, a Soviet crew returned from a circumnavigation of earth and touched down off course, winding up in the Ural Mountains surrounded by hungry wolves--hardly the stuff of regular astronaut training.) For space buffs, this is a highly recommended work of reference.

From Library Journal The end of the Cold War has brought with it sweeping changes in both the American and the former Soviet Union's space programs, which received their primary impetus from the post-World War II nuclear stalemate but today are justified mainly on the basis of international cooperation. Science writer Heppenheimer's readable account provides a timely historical overview of the early visionaries, the engineers, and the geopolitical forces that placed men on the moon and created today's aerospace industry. Drawing on newly available Russian sources, the author places both Russian and American programs in their historical contexts, demonstrating that the two superpowers undertook their respective expensive manned programs mainly for the sake of prestige. However, he reluctantly concludes that, having failed in developing any support beyond the sponsoring governments, manned spaceflight may not have a future beyond the current U.S.-Russian joint space station venture. In contrast, he notes, the real achievements of space research are embodied in the advancements in communications technology and meteorology that are so ingrained in our daily lives. A thoughtful analysis that is highly recommended for academic and large public libraries.?Thomas J. Frieling, Bainbridge Coll., Ga.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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