Star-Crossed Orbits: Inside the U.S.-Russian Space Alliance Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Star-Crossed Orbits: Inside the U.S.-Russian Space Alliance

The author, a former space engineer with Houston Mission Control for 22 years (his speciality was orbital mechanics), writes about the odd relationship that developed between the U.S. and Russian space programs after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Russian program, starved for funds, often at war with itself, managed to get by on a wing and a prayer (and considerable tinkering and luck), while NASA poured money into Russia, made absurd apologies for Russian screwups and missed deadlines, and covered up a lot of what went wrong on Mir and International Space Station flights. In many ways, Russia continued to behave as if the Cold War was still on: jealously guarding photocopiers, refusing to share information with American astronauts in orbit, insisting on carrying guns on every mission(!). Individually, astronauts, cosmonauts, and engineers got along famously across the borders (well, there was the sexual harassment of Western female astronauts), but political considerations repeatedly trumped safety, engineering, and other values. It's a bracing and depressing tale by an ever-hopeful science journalist.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of Star-Crossed Orbits: Inside the U.S.-Russian Space Alliance

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Kind Of History

Time of history:    -   1990's    -   1980's    -   1970's    -   1960's Nationality?    -   Russia History of a journey/colonization?    -   Yes Kind of journey?    -   space travel History of a science?    -   Yes Kind of science    -   Astronomy

Subjects of this Historical Account

Is the portrayal sympathetic?    -   Somewhat unsympathetic


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Southeast    -   Texas    -   Northeast Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   Russia

Writing Style

How much gore?    -   2 () How fast-paced is the book?    -   2 () Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Book makes you feel...    -   frustrated How much focus on stories of individuals?    -   Focuses on brief history of a lot of players How much romance?    -   1 () Minor characters feature lots of:    -   politicians Pictures/Illustrations?    -   A handful Length of book    -   300-350 pages How much emphasis on small details?    -   4 ()

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James Oberg Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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