Cover Image: Shuttle, Houston

Shuttle, Houston

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Member Reviews

I finally got this book on my reading device. It was a pleasure. 

You must overcome the initial chapters, in which Paul was setting a certain tone of the book. Using a lot of acronyms and abbreviations, he pretty much tells the story of a mission. Explaining these abbreviations once helps, but their sheer number are hard to memorize, so that some of the story gets lost.

After the first few chapters though, the lingo gets less, and the stories more interesting. Whatever your mission is, you learn how to plan and how to execute. You learn principles of decision making and leadership. In the abstract, there are a lot of leadership trades or project management skills one can learn from the book and apply in their personal lives.

4 stars, because of the rough start, but still a smooth flight and solid landing.
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Fascinating. This book is from a guy that started in NASA in the era right after Apollo and seemingly left right as SpaceX and the other private space agencies were finding their first successes. It is highly technical, yet also very approachable - Dye actively tries to explain as much of his "NASA-speak" (his term) as possible while not getting bogged down in too many details. This covers the entirety of his 40 ish years in NASA, from his first days as a co-op student through his last years planning the recovery missions should a Shuttle be stranded in space in the years after the Columbia disaster. Great insight and sometimes hilarious stories, though it ultimately suffers from the same bad taste of an ending that soured Kranz's Failure Is Not An Option. In its final chapter, it more often comes across as a bitter old man not understanding the new dynamics of the agency he helped mold, rather than as someone truly hopeful for the future of space exploration and what the promise of the new and immediately future eras. Still, a truly worthy read from one of the people who doesn't have the name recognition of a Kranz or a Chris Kraft, but who was arguably just as important in getting NASA to where it is today. Very much recommeded.
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This seemed to be well written but there were a lot of technical terms and acronyms tossed out at you. The author did explain each initially but there were so many in continual use it got to feel like a foreign language. I felt overwhelmed and couldn't finish it.

I received a free e-galley from netgalley.com.
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Shuttle, Houston is quite a story as the reader gets to learn about the space program from the inside out.  Most if it is fascinating, but I found the first chapters to be technologically above my head.  They are very detailed about the mechanics of how things work.  However, once I got past that part of the book,  it was much easier to follow.  

We are provided a lot of information that many of those outside of the space program do not know.  The incredible amount of knowledge that a Flight Director must have in his head and at his fingertips is mindboggling. The ability to access and apply what he knows on a moments notice can be critical to the success of a mission.  We learn about the difference in function between the Kennedy Space Center and Johnson Space Center, with work at JSC being the focus of Shuttle, Houston.  

The reader learns about our collaboration on the space program with Russia. For some reason I did not remember that Norm Thagard was the first American astronaut to ride on Mir (I had friends who went to school with him).  I was amused by the anecdotal story of June Lockhart’s visit to the space center.  However, one of the most interesting chapters comes at the end when Paul Dye reflects on how and why the changes in the U.S. space program have occurred. 

As challenging as I found the first few chapters, this was a great way to learn about the space
program from an insider’s point of view.

I requested an advance copy of this book from Netgalley.com because I have been fascinated by space flight for most of my life.  It didn’t hurt that one of the early astronauts lived within shouting distance of my childhood home (I did not know him) when he was selected.  There was no promise of a positive review and any opinion shared here is strictly my own.
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