Endurance

Endurance

by Scott Kelly

Overview: The veteran of four spaceflights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space, Scott Kelly has experienced things very few have. Now, he takes us inside a sphere utterly hostile to human life. He describes navigating the extreme challenge of long-term spaceflight, both life-threatening and mundane: the devastating effects on the body; the isolation from everyone he loves and the comforts of Earth; the catastrophic risks of colliding with space junk; and the still more haunting threat of being unable to help should tragedy strike at homeóan agonizing situation Kelly faced when, on a previous mission, his twin brother's wife, American Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was shot while he still had two months in space.

Deanna Boe (12/06/17): What an outstanding book ENDURANCE is! I honestly donít see how this book couldnít be of interest to anyone who has ever wondered about space and what life would be like on a space shuttle! It grabbed my attention right from the start, even though I have not been an ďastronaut junkieĒ throughout my life. It is such a well written book, ranging from the fact Scott Kelly had ADHD throughout his school life and how he overcame it, simply because he wanted to be a pilot! He read the book THE RIGHT STUFF by Tom Wolfe when he was floundering his freshman year in college and ready to flunk out. It inspired him in such a way that he was able to go on and finish college at none other then the State University of New York Maritime College which is considered equal to Annapolis. He had a difficult time convincing them to accept him. He started all over as a freshman to prove he could do it. Plus another reason he wanted to go there was because it allowed him to be commissioned an officer in the Navy upon graduation and then hopefully a naval pilot. He tells how he had to learn how to study, how he pushed himself to extremes, not only in college, but flight school and becoming an astronaut. As a former teacher I marvel at his perseverance and what he ultimately achieved. This is a book I can easily recommend to any high school student. Especially when he was honest and tells how he simply squeaked by and his father explained that he and his identical twin brother might be able to be welders, or some trade that didnít require college because they were such poor students, and yet both went on to be astronauts! I was shocked to learn just how much they had to study and learn to achieve this goal.

Scott does an exceptional job of making you feel part of his experiences when he went to the Naval Flight School in Pensacola, Florida; once more it takes lots of studying and hard work. It was especially fascinating to read how he learned to land on a flight deck of an aircraft carrier. He almost failed this part. After each part was completed he moved on to the next higher level, and it was always what he wanted to obtain. Remember he almost flunked out his freshman year of college which only makes each new step he achieved all that more amazing.

Did you know that all the astronauts only reach the space station by way of Russia? They control the sending and returning of all who work there. Scott tells how well they work together, each in their own part of the space station. He has worked with astronauts from Russia, Italy, France, England, and Japan to name but a few. It is fascinating to read just what it is like to live in space and just how much was done to build this space station. I didnít realize how many countries were involved in this mission. Different countries built different parts, then they were sent to space and attached in different stages and when completed it all worked! It took a couple of years just to build. Scott tells how they captured their supply capsule called the Dragon. First, they talk with Houston, then are handed over to Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, then over to Munich, Germany, next Japan, and finally Russia! Just capturing Dragon and connecting it to their station is almost unbelievable. If it didnít work it could be months before they could send more supplies.

All the astronauts need to know how to work with the machine, Seedra, or the machine that controls the CO2/oxygen level. It is constantly giving them trouble which can cause them to have burning eyes, and headaches. They know this machine has to be perfected if they ever want to go to Mars. The Americans are constantly complaining about this machine and how it functions, whereas he tells how the Russians never complainÖ..about anything! Why should we be surprised?

It was especially interesting to find out how those in space can so easily stay in touch with loved ones back on earth. Scott had a horrible scare when he was contacted about his twin brotherís wife, Gabby, a US Congressman from Arizona, when she had been shot. Life as we know it continues on earth and those in space have no way to physically give comfort to those they love. It takes a special person to do this job and obviously Scott was that person. He and his identical twin brother will be continually watched and evaluated until they die to see how that year in Space affected Scott.
Rating: *****

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