SKYLAB: The Story of Man's First Station in Space by William Cromie

SKYLAB: The Story of Man's First Station in Space

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Cromie's alternately mechanical and overdramatized style compares poorly to Cooper's suaver, more personable reporting in A House in Space (reviewed in this issue's adult non-fiction), and for that reason the Cooper makes for easier reading. Also, where Cromie naively repeats NASA's puffery about the manned mission's advantages, Cooper (who deals with the conflict between the stalking third crew and ground personnel who ""never stopped thinking about them as robots"") actually makes a better case for human presence on the space station. However, for readers whose interest in how it feels to open cans, exercise and undress in space has reasonable limits, Cromie's version is somewhat shorter, and it combines the housekeeping details with a little more technical description of Skylab and the various glitches that the three successive crews had to handle. Still, the appeal will be limited to those who, like Cromie, can take the ground's electronic eavesdropping on the unsuspecting crews in stride--and who share the astronauts' awe over circling ""the world in 93 minutes and across the US in the blink of an eye. That's progress--men once took six months to travel from coast to coast."" Holy cow.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1976
Publisher: McKay