- Paperback: 614 pages
- Publisher: Springer; 2012 edition (8 June 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1461434297
- ISBN-13: 978-1461434290
- Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 3.6 x 24.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 1.4 Kg
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
Tragedy and Triumph in Orbit: The Eighties and Early Nineties Paperback – 8 Jun 2012
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From the reviews:
“This large volume takes readers to the early 1990s. Evans provides very good details of people and events, but places much less emphasis on science, engineering, and space technology. The author’s intent was to emphasize the human and personal side of the many aspects of space exploration--not only of the Americans, but also of the Soviets and others. … Summing Up: Recommended. All academic, professional, and general space history collections.” (A. M. Strauss, Choice, Vol. 50 (5), January, 2013)
From the Back Cover
April 12, 2011, was the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's pioneering journey into space. To commemorate this momentous achievement, Springer-Praxis is producing a mini series of books that reveals how humanity's knowledge of flying, working, and living in space has grown in the last half century.
Tragedy and Triumph in Orbit, the fourth book in the series, explores the tumultuous events of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, a time when a reinvigorated Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union bred further distrust and intense competition between the two old foes. As the Shuttle sought to fulfill its mandate of regular, routine access to space, a fatal Achilles heel in the system remained undetected until, one freezing January day in 1986, it made itself known with horrifying suddenness on millions of television screens across the world.
Systemic flaws, and the urgent need to resolve them, led to several years of introspection, while the Soviet program seemed to prosper and cosmonauts spent longer periods in space than ever before. By the end of the 1980s, a pair of Soviet success masked political changes on the ground, changes which would dramatically turn a once-proud human space program into a mere shadow of what it was. The consequence would be a rocky road to an unlikely partnership.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Ben Evans' superb "Tragedy and Triumph in Orbit" is no exception. The fourth volume in his ambitious History of Human Space Exploration series and covering the period from the 1980s to the early 1990s, its 614 pages are densely packed with detailed, nuts-and-bolts information on the American and Soviet manned spaceflights during that period. Like the other books in the series, it is meticulously researched, exceptionally comprehensive and impressively accurate. Mr. Evans is spot on in his technical descriptions of all the myriad, highly complex aspects of American and Soviet spaceflight technology, the missions flown and their historical contexts.
With the Apollo lunar landing program long finished by the time this volume begins, all manned missions during the period covered (and, indeed, up to the present day) ventured no further than low Earth orbit (LEO). But that doesn't mean the missions were not interesting or important, and Mr. Evans conveys their accomplishments in an exceptionally readable way. Techno-geeks will salivate over the details he presents, and even space cadets who think they already know a lot about the subject are sure to learn something new. The period was marred, of course, by the explosion of the U.S. Space Shuttle "Challenger" 73 seconds after launch on January 28, 1986, which Mr. Evans evaluates as well as any other books I've read on the disaster, including those written by participants. On the other hand, the period saw some stunning successes as well, including long-duration missions, satellite deployments, the Solar Max repair mission and the flights of guest astronauts and cosmonauts that made human spaceflight a truly international endeavor. The breadth, depth, accuracy and sheer readability of "Tragedy and Triumph in Orbit" makes it an immensely valuable resource.
I especially like the book's organization. Interspersed among the chronological stories of American and Soviet manned spaceflights during the period of interest are brief biographical sketches of the astronauts or cosmonauts involved. These sketches are just the right length, in my opinion--a couple of pages at most. I tend to glaze over with too much information about astronauts' and cosmonauts' childhoods, which are far less interesting to me than their missions. Also included are short sections about major global events that affected the superpowers' space programs during the time, thus putting the American and Soviet space programs into historical perspective in a rapidly changing world. It's very nicely done. I offer just one minor caveat--American and South Yemeni readers need to know that Mr. Evans uses ONLY the MKS measurement system, with no parenthetical conversions to the antiquated English-system units that these two holdout nations, alone in the world, continue to use. So be it. That probably isn't a big problem for the target demographic of this book.
I highly recommend "Tragedy and Triumph in Orbit," with no reservations whatsoever, to all readers interested in the subject.
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