CARRYING THE FIRE: An Astronaut's Journeys by Michael Collins

CARRYING THE FIRE: An Astronaut's Journeys

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Here I am, a white male, age thirty-eight, height 5 feet 11 inches, weight 165 pounds, salary $17,000 per annum, resident of a Texas suburb, with black spot on my roses, state of mind unsettled, about to be shot off to the moon. Yes, to the moon."" Collins sits inside the Command Module, awaiting blast-off, pulse a calm 88. The reader, however, has come 361 pages to reach the big moment in Collins' long career. Three years earlier he'd made his first rocket ride aboard a Gemini circling the earth; had some thrilling minutes spacewalking and hairy times entangled in a 50-foot hose while trying to get back to his spacecraft. Collins covers his entire Air Force career (his life, in fact), from West Point to test piloting over the Mojave Desert; his difficulties transferring into the astronaut program; the long years of training in unexpected fields such as geology, computers, spacesuit design (his specialty); the damnable boredom of public relations work for the program; and at last preparations for the moonride. Collins, you'll recall, stayed aloft in the CM while Armstrong and Aldrich went down in the landing craft. Beyond radio contact in the dark of the moon, he was one man alone with God, aware, hopeful, almost exultant. A great story well told.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 1974
ISBN: 0374531943
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux