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How NASA Learned to Fly in Space

NASA learned to fly in space in a time when the agency was young and lean, and had an explicit mandate of staggering audacity set against a tight deadline; in a time when the agency readily accepted risk, and made momentous decisions 'on the run'; in a time when a rendezvous was a major objective of a mission, in a time when opening the hatch and venturing outside was a serious challenge. Apollo claimed the glory, but it was Gemini that 'stretched the envelope' of spaceflight to make going to the Moon feasible. As Dr Robert Gilruth, director of the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, observed: "In order to go to the Moon, we had to learn how to operate in space. We had to learn how to manoeuvre with precision to rendezvous and to dock; to work outside in the hard vacuum of space; to endure long-duration in the weightless environment; and to learn how to make precise landings from orbital flight -- that is where the Gemini Program came in."
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About the Author

David M Harland is a space historian whose prolific output in recent years includes 'Exploring the Moon: The Apollo Expeditions', 'The Story of the Space Shuttle' and 'The Story of Space Station Mir'. Based in Scotland, he lives in a small house full of books.


"...a fascinating account of the highs, the lows and the unusual events...that are part of all big projects in space..." -- Focus, January 2005. "A good book that reads well and explains difficult things clearly. David Harland is a very good writer who knows his subject." -- Spaceflight, April 2005. "...very well and competently done...a useful work for both aerospace engineering students and space historians. ...Highly recommended." -- Choice, March 2005. "This book is a must read for anyone interested in the space program and the history of manned space flight...Highly recommended" -- Choice, April 2005.

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