Reflections from Earth Orbit (Apogee Books Space Series)
by Captain Winston E. Scott
Review by EJ McClure
Collector's Guide Publishing Inc Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 1894959221
Date: 01 July, 2005 List Price $23.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
With the shuttle's return to flight this month, Reflections From Earth Orbit comes at a good time to satisfy curiosity about life in the space program. Reflections from Earth Orbit puts a human face on the man in the white space suit with the shuttle reflected in the visor of his helmet. Written in a conversational first person by Winston E. Scott, mission specialist on STS-72 in 1996 and STS-87 in 1997, Reflections does a bang-up job of giving a glimpse of what it would be like to be an astronaut.
The story opens with Scott's childhood memories of watching Sky King cartoons, but rather than plodding chronologically through his life, the narrative dwells on the dramatic highlights--his first flight, the thrill of a shuttle launch, the awe of space walks--then loops back to fill in the details of how he achieved those milestones. Scott is a retired Navy captain, a former test pilot with flight time in tactical aircraft from the A-7 to the F-14, and holds a Masters in Aeronautical engineering, and he writes with forthright authenticity about the life he has lived. He includes enough background information about the space program to put his adventures in context, but doesn't attempt to provide a detailed history of NASA--for that, go re-read The Right Stuff. Likewise, Scott threads scientific explanations throughout the narrative, describing how and why life is different in space, but Reflections is a personal memoir, not a textbook. Optimism and enthusiasm infuse every page. With lots of full color pictures and a minimum of acronyms, it?s a quick, enjoyable read. If you have a young teen excited about the shuttle?s return to flight, Reflections from Earth Orbit may just get them hooked on a career in aviation or space.