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Generation Space: A Love Story    by Anna Leahy & Douglas R. Dechow order for
Generation Space
by Anna Leahy
Order:  USA  Can
Stillhouse, 2017 (2017)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Having been an avid SF reader in my teens and having got up in the middle of the night to watch the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969, I had no trouble relating to the fascination with space exploration shared by Anna Leahy and Douglas R. Dechow, co-authors of Generation Space: A Love Story.

Leahy is a poet-professor and Dechow 'a scientist-turned-librarian'; they share a passion for the Space Age, telling us that 'those of us born after Sputnik in 1957 and before the first space shuttle mission in 1981 are Generation Space.' Dechow talks about watching Star Trek in syndication and tells us that 'Apollo gave Americans a way to see 1968 not only as a year of social and political crisis, but also as, ultimately, a year of hope for humanity and the future'. Whatever happened to that America?

There's discussion of the development of systems engineering and systems management, as two of many lasting legacies of the Apollo program, and of the eventual canceling of that program; of the Challenger and Columbia disasters and what was learned from them; of Shuttle missions and launches of International Space Station components. The authors interview astronauts and NASA personnel, and take pilgrimages to watch shuttle launches (many of which are scrubbed). And they describe visiting the Space Coast for 'the last-ever shuttle launch of Atlantis.'

Other topics covered include continuing unmanned missions; the impact on the environment of increasing rocket launches; Mars rovers; commercial space and space tourism; predictions of timing and cost to send humans to Mars and establish the first lunar colony. The authors quote Michael Collins: 'The only thing that I know for certain is that starting a human colony on a second planet will cost much less than the weapons we buy to destroy the first one.' Hear, hear!

There's a lot here at a very detailed level, almost too much for most readers. But if you look to the stars with wonder, as these authors do, you'll want to dip into Generation Space.

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