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Leaving Earth – Robert Zimmerman ***

There have been some excellent books on manned space missions, such as Deborah Cadbury’s Space Race and my own, more recent Final Frontier, and Robert Zimmerman has found an obvious gap in the coverage of the space stations that have been planned as stepping stones to exploration of the solar system, or made real as flying laboratories. There is a good coverage of the Russian side of the story, often slightly overlooked, but so important when it comes to space stations. Zimmerman gets across the mix of professionalism and make-do that characterized these missions.
Mostly the book is very readable, but it is a little too obsessed with detail in covering every mission and every small modification made to space stations, and this is occasionally a touch tedious, but shouldn’t detract from what is a book that anyone interested in the real significance of manned exploration of space should read.

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Review by Brian Clegg


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