Book Review: Riding Rockets

Riding Rockets by Astronaut Mike Mullane.

I had just watched Space Shuttle Atlantis land for the final time. I was incredibly sad, but happy. The great ship that inspired my love of science and space had come to a final stop. I knew a bit about the shuttle program, or so I thought. It was time to read someone’s first hand experience of this mighty spaceship. Riding Rockets was the obvious place to look.

At T-6 seconds the cockpit shook violently. Engine start. This is it, I thought. In spite of my fear, I smiled. I was headed into space. It was really going to happen.

5…4…The vibrations intensified as the SSMEs sequentially came on line. Then, the warble of the master caution system grabbed us.

This superb read takes us all through Mike Mullanes life. The horrors of the initial astronaut medical exam, flying in Vietnam, his childhood and the shocking bureaucracy and management at NASA.

This book had me in fits of laughter, and I mean extreme laughter! It bought a tear to my eye, the pages discussing Challenger are particularly heart-wrenching. It had me shocked and in immense curiosity. His descriptions of life at NASA are honest, sometimes jaw-droppingly honest. This book made me appreciate the space programme a lot more, the sacrifices that have to be made, the lessons that need to be learnt.

If your interested in spaceflight, get this book, it’s a no brainer. If you want a laugh and understand what these great people do, buy this book. It is an utterly superb read. 5 stars from me! (If you want to buy it, click here, it’ll take you to the page on Amazon).

If you need some inspiration. Watch this:

My next book – My Life on Mars: The Beagle Diaries by Prof Colin Pillinger

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What did the Shuttle mean to You?

I’ve received some great feedback from people reference my previous post ‘When We Left Earth – What the Shuttle Meant to Me‘ and I’d really love to hear what it meant to you.

How did you hear about it? How old were you? What did you think? How did it make you feel? Did it change you in any way? What did the Shuttle mean to you?

Leave a comment and then I’ll merge them into the actual post below here. I look forward to your stories.

  1. Rosie Harris

    The first thing I remember about space travel was when I was 5 – I sat on my mum’s knee and to this day remember watching the news footage of Challenger exploding. I remember how sad I felt but at the same time I was fascinated because my parents kept explaining how brave the astronauts (and teacher!) were. That is what initiated my my interest in space – the people who wanted to explore it, get closer to it and risk their lives to do it. As exciting as discoveries of the unknown from unmanned rockets are to me now, I just don’t think I would have become so interested without that initial “human” introduction – although it is unfortunate that mine was through such a tragic event.