Into the Black: The Extraordinary Untold Story of the First Flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the Astronauts Who Flew Her by Rowland White

The Excitement of Space Exploration     

My rating:  5 out of 5     


This exciting, and very readable, book  takes the reader from the 1960s first ventures into Into the Blackspace, through the creation of an early balsawood and paper model design for a space plane capable of returning to earth, to the first space shuttle launch in 1981 and right on up to the 2003 Columbia disaster.  It  gives all the background into space travel including why getting a man on the moon was so important.   The reader is taken through the Apollo missions and through all preparation of the astronauts and the space shuttle before launch the 1981 launch of Space Shuttle Columbia.

Rowland White has included all the exciting parts of space history – and there’s a lot of them, and skipped all the boring parts – or maybe his writing is just so good that it seems like that.  This book is perfect for everyone who has ever watched a blast off into space, and wondered what happened before, and after, that moment, and of course is great reading for any aspiring astronauts.  No need for an engineering, science or mathematical background to enjoy this book, it is gripping, with heart stopping moments.  At the end of the book is a glossary of terms – which I never needed to refer to, due to the clarity of the writing, plus excellent diagrams and a great list of resources for further information.

The book took longer to read than I had anticipated, as I kept breaking off to google films of the events taking place and pictures of the people and locations involved.   I have learnt so much, and been so fascinated by this book.  In particular how brave the astronauts are;  I had no ideas of the difficulties, and dangers, involved in getting a space shuttle into space.

An action packed history book – fantastic.  Get yourself a copy, and give a friend one too.

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