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Selected as a Mission Specialist in 1978 in the first group of shuttle astronauts, Mike Mullane completed three missions and logged 356 hours aboard the Discovery and Atlantis shuttles. It was a dream come true. As a boy, Mullane could only read about space travel in science fiction, but the launch of Sputnik changed all that. Space flight became a possible dream and Mike Mullane set out to make it come true. In this absorbing memoir, Mullane gives the first-ever look into the often hilarious, sometime volatile dynamics of space shuttle astronauts - a class that included Vietnam War veterans, feminists, and propeller-headed scientists. With unprecedented candour, Mullane describes the chilling fear and unparalleled joy of space flight. As his career centred around the Challenger disaster, Mullane also recounts the heartache of burying his friends and colleagues. And he pulls no punches as he reveals the ins and outs of NASA, frank in his criticisms of the agency. A blast from start to finish, Riding Rockets is a straight-from-the-gut account of what it means to be an astronaut, just in time for this latest generation of stargazers.
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About the Author

Upon his graduation from West Point in 1967, Mike Mullane was commissioned in the USAF. He flew 134 combat missions in Vietnam. Selected in the first group of space shuttle astronauts, he completed three space missions. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife, Donna, and enjoys the challenge of Colorado's fourteen-thousand-foot peaks -- six climbed, forty-seven to go. He is also an acclaimed motivational speaker. For more information visit www.MikeMullane.com.

Reviews

With a testosterone-fueled swagger and a keen eye for particulars, Mullane takes readers into the high-intensity, high-stress world of the shuttle astronaut in this rough-hewn yet charming yarn of low-rent antics, bureaucratic insanity and transcendent beauty. Mullane opens this tale face down on a doctor's table awaiting a colorectal exam that will determine his fitness for astronaut training. "I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses," he writes, setting the tone for the crude and often hilarious story that follows. Chosen as a trainee in 1978, Mullane, a Vietnam vet, quickly finds himself at odds with the buttoned-up post-Apollo NASA world of scientists, technocrats and civilian astronauts he describes as "tree-huggers, dolphin friendly fish eaters, vegetarians, and subscribers to the New York Times." He holds female astronauts in special disregard, though he later grudgingly acknowledges the achievement and heroism of both the civilians and women. The book hits its stride with Mullane's space adventures: a difficult takeoff, the shift into zero gravity, his first view of the Earth from space: "To say the view was overwhelmingly beautiful would be an insult to God." (Feb. 14) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"Funny, harrowing, tragic...Riding Rockets is a thrill, from start to finish." -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch "This is not your father's astronaut memoir.... Mullane's story rings true every adventurous step of the way." -- Rocky Mountain News "Compelling." -- Entertainment Weekly "Space-age America in all its glory and folly as seen through the eyes of a remarkable writer who has brilliantly captured the triumphant and tragic years of the space shuttle era. Riding Rockets soars." -- Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys

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