Reviewed by: Clifford R. McMurray
Title: By means of the Glass Ceiling to the Stars: The Story of the First American Girl to Command a House Mission
Writer: Col. Eileen M. Collins USAF (Retired) with Jonathan H. Ward
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Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Writer: The MIT Press
Date: October 2021
Retail Worth: $27.99/$18.99/$18.37
Two days earlier than her first spaceflight in 1995, on the conventional prelaunch occasion, Eileen Collins met Valentina Tereshkova. The distinction between the 2 girls, even discounting the distinction of their ages, couldn’t have been higher. Thirty years earlier Tereshkova had change into the primary lady house traveler, however she’d accomplished in order a mere passenger in an automatic capsule; she wasn’t even an airplane pilot. Collins was a veteran Air Drive check pilot, with twenty years and 1000’s of flight hours in expertise, and she or he’d be flying to house as the primary feminine pilot of a spaceship. Within the years forward she would fly to house 4 instances, and every of these 4 flights could be a historic mission. Her first flight was additionally the primary House Shuttle rendezvous with the Russian Mir house station, paving the way in which for a collection of long-duration missions to Mir by American astronauts. Her subsequent flight was additionally to Mir. On Collins’ third flight, supply of the Chandra X-Ray Telescope to orbit, she moved to the left seat of the Shuttle as the primary feminine spacecraft commander. And her final flight was the “Return to Flight” mission, the primary Shuttle flight after the Columbia accident.
These flights would make for fairly a narrative all by themselves, however Collins had been making historical past earlier than she ever bought to NASA. She was one of many Air Drive’s first feminine pilots, the primary feminine to pilot the F-15 fighter airplane, and the primary feminine pilot to finish check pilot coaching on the Air Drive Check Pilot College at Edwards Air Drive Base, dwelling of legendary check pilots like Chuck Yeager and Neil Armstrong.
There was little in Collins’ childhood to encourage her or anybody else to imagine she was destined to make any massive mark on the earth. Her father was an alcoholic who ultimately moved out, leaving her mom to lift her and her brother and sister alone. They lived a lower-middle-class existence that included a while on welfare and meals stamps. The pressure led her mom to try suicide, and whereas she was in hospital from that episode, the teenaged Collins took care of her youthful siblings at dwelling by herself. She was a shy, unexceptional pupil, and a stutterer. However she was occupied with flying from a younger age, and she or he was decided. She joined Air Drive ROTC, and began making historical past.
There’s one thing on this ebook for everybody. For younger folks of each sexes, there’s an inspiring story of how focusing in your objectives can take you farther than you imagined at the start of your journey. Collins additionally needs her ebook to encourage younger folks to contemplate army careers, and no matter profession they select, to be pleased about the nation that provides them the liberty to pursue their objectives. And naturally, there are the tales of the spaceflights themselves. Even jaded house buffs will get their adrenaline repair whereas studying her account of the STS-93 launch, the place one of many Shuttle’s principal engines almost exploded resulting from a hydrogen leak.
Girls will, I believe, be particularly occupied with Collins’ efforts to stability the household life she wished with the profession she wished. She clearly couldn’t fly on the Shuttle if she have been pregnant, so when her first flight was delayed for a yr, she needed to postpone her plans to have her first youngster. Her army profession and NASA coaching had already pushed these plans to later in her life than the prime childbearing years. She would in time have two youngsters. Shuttle checklists have been a few of their early bedtime studying. After Columbia was misplaced, Collins needed to prepare for return to flight whereas coping with the emotional trauma of a seven yr outdated daughter who was simply sufficiently old to know that her mom was going to be using a spacecraft that had killed the final crew who tried.
All through her grownup life, Collins has set objectives for herself and centered on carrying out them. As along with her flying plane and spacecraft, so with this ebook: all of the objectives she set for herself in writing the ebook—inspiration and historic narrative—have been admirably fulfilled. This is likely one of the important astronaut autobiographies.
© 2022 Clifford R. McMurray
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