Revised edition. In a moving introduction, Vogt explains that he updated his previous book to include the Columbia disaster in which seven people died and has dedicated this book to K.C., Kalbana Chawla, one of the astronaut scientist/engineers who perished and the only woman aboard that flight. Vogt discusses disasters, both with human death, and with death avoided, in four chapters. An early Soviet flight in 1969 suffered numerous mishaps and finally landed 2000 miles from where it was supposed to have landed, lucky to touch down at all. Various other smaller disasters such as a space suit malfunction, a near drowning upon reentry, and docking errors at the space station pale before the story of the Challenger disaster and the Columbia disintegration. Vogt conveys plenty of information about how flights work and what is accomplished for science, a gruesome page on what happens within the human body if a space suit fails, and plenty of optimistic discussion about the possible future of the space programs with a prediction that we will establish a permanent space station on the moon. Photographs vary with a few in color, most in black and white, and reproduction is fuzzy or murky on many, perhaps reflecting conditions under which they were taken. While the title suggests otherwise, Vogt points out how many successes the space program has had in this informative look at a program currently under scrutiny. An index, glossary, modest bibliography, and two websites support further research. 2003 (orig. 2001), Millbrook Press, Ages 8 to 12.
Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
Gr 5-8-This revised edition includes catastrophes that have occurred since the book's original release in 2001. The writing is interesting and succinct without leaving out any of the details. Brimming with clearly reproduced full-color and black-and-white photographs, the volume surveys the history of the United States and Russian space programs with an emphasis on the hazards, accidents, and disasters that astronauts have faced while exploring space. The most telling and interesting part of the discussion is the author's explanations of what really happened and why, what lessons were learned, and how they impacted future voyages. The explanation of what went wrong with the Columbia shuttle in February 2003, is particularly good. This fascinating read is packed with enough information for students beginning research on the events and people that populate the pages.-Linda Wadleigh, Oconee County Middle School, Watkinsville, GA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.