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5.0 out of 5 stars - Excellent account of scientist-astronauts in 1960/70s NASA
By Have Read Them All on November 21, 2006

This is an excellent piece of research from Colin Burgess and David Shayler, building on their reputations for producing high quality works about the space program. This book is a must for anyone wishing to learn about the workings of 1960s and 1970s NASA other than from the viewpoint of the pilot astronauts.

People familiar with other astronaut biographies will immediately recognise some of the nuances and stories repeated throughout the book, but there is also a wealth of new information not previously published. One refreshing aspect is comments from different scientist-astronauts on the same topic. Being an Australian, I have always been interested in the role played by Philip Chapman (born in Melbourne). The book contains an interesting account by Chapman of his disagreement with the "astro-politics" of Deke Slayton and the dismissive appropach of science in general and the scientist-astronauts in particular. This is countered with an opposing view by Bill Thornton, which makes for very interesting reading. Another example is differing views people held about Brian O'Leary's suitability to be an astronaut prior to his resignation.

There is a fascinating insight into Duane Graveline's selection and quick fall from grace, under pressure from NASA to resign because of an impending divorce, which up until now had been treated almost as a grubby footnote in other works about 1960s NASA. Graveline was gone so fast that he barely rated a mention other than in respect of the circumstances leading to his departure.

Other interesting aspects are brief bio details (where it has been possible to obtain them) about the unsuccessful applicants for the 1965 and 1967 astronaut groups, and what became of them in later careers.  The book also gives a good account of the role of the scientist-astronauts in the early AAP plans, and in this respect the book is a good adjunct to Shayler's "Apollo: The Lost and Forgotten Missions", which deals more extensively with the 1960s hopes and plans for AAP after the lunar program.

The book distinguishes the 17 astronauts officially selected in 1965 and 1967 as "scientist-astronauts" from the Mission Specialist intakes for the Shuttle program from 1978 onward, so the book is a good snapshot of the 1960s and 70s. Thankfully, the book deals with the role that the 1965 and 1967 scientist-astronauts took in the Shuttle program, after some waited up to 18 years for a mission.

This book is a "must" for anyone who wants to learn more about the scientist-astronauts of the 1960s, and everyone (like me) who has absorbed all the other astronaut biographies. I eagerly awaited the release of this book; publication delays aside, the wait was worth it. This book comes very highly recommended.

4.0 out of 5 stars
- A good book about Scientist-Astronauts
By Ludger Suarez-Burgoa on September 11, 2013

The book has a complete review about the scientists that had and have been part of the space NASA projects. I think that there is no other book that talks about this important and specific issue.

5.0 out of 5 stars - Five Stars
By Verbsat on September 3, 2014

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