Off the Planet: Surviving Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station Mir

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9780071361125: Off the Planet: Surviving Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station Mir

“An engrossing report.”―Booklist “Vividly captures the challenges and privations [Dr. Linenger] endured both before and during his flight.”―Library Journal Nothing on earth compares to Off the Planet―Dr. Jerry Linenger’s dramatic account of space exploration turned survival mission during his 132 days aboard the decaying and unstable Russian space station Mir. Not since Apollo 13 has an American astronaut faced so many catastrophic malfunctions and life-threatening emergencies in one mission. In his remarkable narrative, Linenger chronicles power outages that left the crew in complete darkness, tumbling out of control; chemical leaks and near collisions that threatened to rupture Mir’s hull; and most terrifying of all―a raging fire that almost destroyed the space station and the lives of its entire crew.

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Review:

Imagine yourself in a decaying space station far away from the atmosphere you never realized you needed so badly, not knowing if the next malfunction would kill you or merely keep you busy. Dr. Jerry M. Linenger experienced just this and describes his harrowing but ennobling five months aboard Mir in Off the Planet, a memoir that evokes the excitement of living every day as a life-threatening adventure. Linenger's very personal writing style draws the reader into the story quickly, breezing through his childhood, Annapolis training, medical school, and selection as an astronaut, then moving quickly to the Mir assignment and its aftermath.

Linenger isn't shy about sharing his opinions. Chapter titles like "Broken Trust" and "An Attempted Coverup" show his feelings about the bizarre relationship between the crew and mission control that may have kept him and his Russian comrades in constant danger. He also heaps praise on his fellow crew members and family for their strength and perseverance throughout the mission--between communication difficulties, the cloud of doubt surrounding the station's systems, and problems like fires and toxic fumes, it's a wonder anyone survived with their sanity intact. The full-color pictures accompanying the text add further insight into life aboard Mir. --Rob Lightner

From the Back Cover:

It was like nothing on Earth. "An unvarnished account of his near-disastrous stay, in 1997, on Russia's creaky space station...an engrossing report that NASA's publicity machine will bemoan."--Booklist. "[Linenger's] frank, personable prose shows readers what it's like to be an astronaut--or at least to be this particular astronaut, trying, along with his Russian companions, to live and work with good humor on an 11-year-old, half-broken, famously flammable space station as its air fills with antifreeze that is leaking out of shoddy cooling lines."--Publishers Weekly. "NASA astronaut Linenger spent five months aboard the Russian space station Mir, a spacecraft operating far beyond its design life. His personal account vividly captures the challenges and privation he endured both before and during his flight."--Library Journal.

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