Latest Book Review and Giveaway Not What You Might Expect

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Congratulations to M. Gjedde of TN, winner of this book. Watch Airplanista for more of these fun reviews and giveaways.

By Dan Pimentel,
Airplanista Blog Editor

My continuing series of book reviews and giveaways in collaboration with Quartoknows have been great fun, and Airplanista has covered and given away about 10 books now. Up next will be a title sure to make anyone interested in space quite excited, and if you stay to the end of this review, there is the usual information on how you can win a free new copy of the book sent directly from the publisher.
The International Space Station Haynes Owners' Workshop Manual by David Baker covers all stages of the "ISS" from 1998 through 2011. And while the title might suggest you will find detailed drawings on how to unstop the lavatory in the MPLM Leonardo (now named the Permanent Multipurpose Module) or how to change the batteries in the Control Moment Gyro, what is advertised as a "Haynes Manual" is actually not that at all. If you expect the same type of info found in the "How to Overhaul a Morris Minor Transmission" manual from Haynes, you will be disappointed.
But that is not to say this is not a great book, it certainly is! If it were titled more accurately "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Every ISS Flight and Component," you'd get a better sense for what this book reveals in its pages. Let's begin with the premise:

Dr. David Baker, the author, worked on Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle programs for NASA from 1965 through 1990. He has written more than 80 books on spaceflight, and this one shows his immense knowledge of the topic, the ISS. With a total mass of 450 metric tons, it took scientists from 15 countries 13 years to build, and is the largest structure ever placed in orbit around Earth. With over 300 photos and illustrations, Baker's "Haynes Manual" for the ISS covers every detail of mankind's biggest engineering achievement, which is a marvelous example of the international aerospace community working together towards a common goal.

If you crave the entire history of the ISS, this book delivers. The 172-page work starts out in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when the first ideas of a manned "space station" began to gain traction. Baker eloquently explains that during those first discussions, several noted rocket engineers - including Wernher von Braun - talked about using spent Saturn rocket stages to create livable spaces in space. "They proposed this economical way of putting a station in space," writes Baker. "Retain the last stage of a Saturn rocket, vent the residue of its remaining fuel in to the vacuum of space and convert the cavernous interior into a habitable place to live and work. Pressurized with oxygen and nitrogen, it could be made to support teams of astronauts ferried back and forth by a multi-man successor to Mercury or a space-plane like the Air Force Dyna-Soar."

Chapters include an introduction, followed by a clearly-written explanation of how this "permanent place in space" came together. Chapters on ISS's various "Phases" follow, covering the first missions to Russia's Mir Station, assembly of the current ISS, permanent habitation of the station, final assembly to what is there today, and the "legacy" of the ISS.

The magic of this book is how Baker has laid it out. Each section is segmented by flight, so for instance, in chapter five, you'll read about STS-114/ISS LF-1, when the space shuttle Discovery was launched July 26th, 2005 at 2:39 GMT. This flight was supposed to be a "crew rotation" flight, delivering the Expedition 7 crew and returning with the Expedition 6 crew, but the mission changed when Columbia was destroyed on February 1st, 2003. Each flight such as this one is explained in exquisite detail that will keep space geeks glued to this book for days.

If you want to enter to possibly win a free new copy of this book shipped directly from the publisher, just answer the question on the form below. I will pick the winner on Friday, December 2. But if you want to make the space people in your world very happy on Christmas morning, just go ahead and buy it now, the best price is on Amazon.

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