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«Riding Rockets», Mike Mullane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SCRIBNER

1230 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10020

 

Copyright В© 2006 by Mike Mullane

 

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

 

SCRIBNERand design are trademarks of Macmillan Library Reference USA, Inc., used under license by Simon & Schuster, the publisher of this work.

 

DESIGNED BY ERICH HOBBING

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

 

Mullane, R. Mike.

Riding rockets: the outrageous tales of a space shuttle astronaut/Mike Mullane.

p. cm.

1. Mullane, R. Mike. 2. Astronauts—United States—Biography.

3. Space Shuttle Program (U.S.) I. Title.

 

TL789.85.M86A3 2006

629.450092—dc22

[B]

В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В 2005056123

ISBN-13: 978-0-7432-9676-2

 

ISBN-10: 0-7432-9676-1

 

Visit us on the World Wide Web:

http://www.SimonSays.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To my mother and father, who lifted my eyes to space.

To the thousands of men and women of the space shuttle team,

who put me in space.

To Donna, who was at my side every step of the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

 

 

 

Acknowledgments

 

1. Bowels and Brains

2. Adventure

3. Polio

4. Sputnik

5. Selection

6. The Space Shuttle

7. Arrested Development

8. Welcome

9. Babes and Booze

10. Temples of History

11. The F

*  *  *

ing New Guys

12. Speed

13. Training

14. Adventures in Public Speaking

15.Columbia

16. Pecking Order

17. Prime Crew

18. Donna

19. Abort

20. MECO

21. Orbit

22. Coming to America

23. Astronaut Wings

24. Part-time Astronauts

25. The Golden Age

26.Challenger

27. Castle Intrigue

28. Falling

29. Change

30. Mission Assignment

31. God Falls

32. Swine Flight

33. Classified Work

34. “No reason to die all tensed up”

35. Riding a Meteor

36. Christie and Annette

37. Widows

38. “I have no plans past MECO”

39. Holding at Nine and Hurting

40. Last Orbits

41. The White House

42. Journey’s End

 

Epilogue

Glossary

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgments

 

 

My first and greatest thanks go to my wife, Donna, for her patient and loving support during my writing of this book. My children, Patrick, Amy, and Laura, were also enthusiastic cheerleaders. Thanks!

I am deeply grateful to my agent, Faith Hamlin, of Sanford J. Green-burger Associates, who convinced me to write the story of my life. Thanks, Faith, for holding my hand and so passionately representingRiding Rockets.

My Scribner editor, Brant Rumble, poured his exceptional talents into my story and I am indebted to him. Not only did he make me a better writer, he was my number-one fan throughout the publishing process. Also, a heartfelt thanks to the rest of the outstanding Scribner team who had a part in bringing my story to print.

Johnson Space Center Flight Director Jay Greene was the first to read my manuscript and I am thankful for his insight. Thanks also to astronauts Robert “Hoot” Gibson, Rhea Seddon, Mike Coats, Pierre Thuot, and Dale Gardner, who took time from their busy schedules to proof my work. In making these acknowledgments, I am not implying these reviewers agreed with everything I wrote. One thought that I was too hard on the politician astronauts. Another felt that I wasn’t severe enough in my criticism of some key NASA managers. While I appreciate all of their opinions, I did not modify my story to accommodate them.Riding Rockets is my story created from my memories.

Many of the conversations I relate in the book are decades old. For that reason, the quotation marks should not be construed as enclosing verbatim dialogue. Rather, they contain my recollection of those discussions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1


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