Synopses & Reviews
In 1978, the first group of space shuttle astronauts was introduced to the world -- twenty-nine men and six women who would carry NASA through the most tumultuous years of the space shuttle program. Among them was USAF Colonel Mike Mullane, who, in his memoir andlt;iandgt;Riding Rockets,andlt;/iandgt; strips the heroic veneer from the astronaut corps and paints them as they are -- human. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Mullane's tales of arrested development among military flyboys working with feminist pioneers and post-doc scientists are sometimes bawdy, often comical, and always entertaining. He vividly portrays every aspect of the astronaut experience, from telling a female technician which urine-collection condom size is a fit to hearing "Taps" played over a friend's grave. He is also brutally honest in his criticism of a NASA leadership whose bungling would precipitate the Challenger disaster -- killing four members of his group. A hilarious, heartfelt story of life in all its fateful uncertainty, andlt;iandgt;Riding Rocketsandlt;/iandgt; will resonate long after the call of "Wheel stop."
"Mike Mullane took me back on a revealing journey to NASA. In these pages I discovered the adventures of the shuttle astronauts. Through palace intrigue, trials and tribulations, triumph and tragedy, Mike exposes it all. What a change from the early days! Maybe I was born too soon!"
-- James A. Lovell, commander of Apollo 13 and author of Apollo 13: Lost Moon
"This is not your father's astronaut memoir.... Mullane's story rings true every adventurous step of the way."andlt;BRandgt; -- andlt;iandgt;Rocky Mountain Newsandlt;/iandgt;
"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. andlt;iandgt;Riding Rocketsandlt;/iandgt; soars."andlt;BRandgt; -- Homer Hickam, author of andlt;iandgt;Rocket Boysandlt;/iandgt;
-- Entertainment Weekly
"Funny, harrowing, tragic...Riding Rockets
is a thrill, from start to finish."
-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"It is a pleasure to read Mike Mullane's entertaining depiction of the NASA astronaut corps. He tells it like it is, and not the way NASA's painted it for so many years."
-- General Chuck Yeager, fighter ace, test pilot, and chairman, General Chuck Yeager Foundation
"If you want a peek behind the NASA kimono, this is it! It may be more than you wanted to know about today's all-American boys laying it all on the line to fly the space shuttle. Mike's story is honest...brutally honest. You haven't read it before, and you are not likely to see it in the future."
-- Walter Cunningham, Apollo 7 astronaut and author of The All-American Boys
"It has been suggested that NASA should send a poet into space to properly describe it, but I'm happy to report that is no longer required. Mike Mullane is a poet-astronaut who in this marvelous book allows those of us who never got there to see, hear, feel, even taste the wonders of the high frontier of space. Riding Rockets
is the story of 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. You may think you don't care about space or astronauts, but trust me, make an exception for this memoir. Quite simply, Riding Rockets
-- Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys
"I thoroughly enjoyed Riding Rockets.
It gave me exactly what I was hoping for: not just the nuts and bolts of training and working as an astronaut, but the joys, frustrations, fears, struggles, and wonder of traveling in space. I highly recommend Mullane's story."
-- Dale Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Act of War
"Convincing, scary, ribald, and sometimes screamingly funny, Mike Mullane gets to the heart of the real astronaut culture in Riding Rockets
and puts to rest for all time the superficial image of 'Right Stuff' warriors. Mullane paints the astronaut's yearning and wild sense of accomplishment with the same abandon that he portrays the pitfalls of the bureaucratic web in which they work."
-- Walter Boyne, author of The Wild Blue and former director of the National Air and Space Museum
"The straight, hot, steaming truth about NASA and flying the wild black yonder from a guy who really did it. Five stars!"
-- Stephen Coonts, author of Flight of the Intruder
"Compelling."andlt;BRandgt; -- andlt;iandgt;Entertainment Weeklyandlt;/iandgt;
"Funny, harrowing, tragic...andlt;iandgt;Riding Rocketsandlt;/iandgt; is a thrill, from start to finish."andlt;BRandgt; -- andlt;iandgt;St. Louis Post-Dispatchandlt;/iandgt;
A revealing memoir of the astronaut's career with the space shuttle program describes his childhood dreams after the launch of Sputnik, work as a Mission Specialist in the first group of shuttle astronauts, and hundreds of hours spent aboard the Discovery and Atlantis. Reprint. 50,000 first printing.
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.
Table of Contents
1. Bowels and Brains
6. The Space Shuttle
7. Arrested Development
9. Babes and Booze
10. Temples of History
11. The F***ing New Guys
14. Adventures in Public Speaking
16. Pecking Order
17. Prime Crew
22. Coming to America
23. Astronaut Wings
24. Part-time Astronauts
25. The Golden Age
27. Castle Intrigue
30. Mission Assignment
31. God Falls
32. Swine Flight
33. Classified Work
34. "No reason to die all tensed up"
35. Riding a Meteor
36. Christie and Annette
38. "I have no plans past MECO"
39. Holding at Nine and Hurting
40. Last Orbits
41. The White House
42. Journey's End