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The Burning Blue: The Untold Story of…
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The Burning Blue: The Untold Story of Christa McAuliffe and NASA's… (original 2021; édition 2021)

par Kevin Cook (Auteur)

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4413468,428 (4.18)4
Membre:jackscherer1
Titre:The Burning Blue: The Untold Story of Christa McAuliffe and NASA's Challenger Disaster
Auteurs:Kevin Cook (Auteur)
Info:Henry Holt and Co. (2021), 288 pages
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The Burning Blue: The Untold Story of Christa McAuliffe and NASA's Challenger Disaster par Kevin Cook (2021)

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Cette critique a été écrite dans le cadre des Critiques en avant-première de LibraryThing.
Kevin Cook’s The Burning Blue tells the story of the human and engineering failures that resulted in the Challenger disaster of January 1986. The narrative focuses on the much hyped Teacher in Space Christa McAuliffe, who accompanied the trained astronauts on the flight. Was her presence just a cynical attempt to win educators’ votes for then-President Ronald Reagan’s Republican Party? Most likely. Nonetheless McAuliffe served her purpose. Her very ordinariness was the source of her appeal, and she breathed new life into the otherwise moribund space program.

The other members of the ill-fated crew, particularly Commander Dick Scobee and flight engineer Judith Resnik, are given their due as well.

This book is an informative tribute to the brave astronauts who needlessly lost their lives on that cold January day. ( )
  akblanchard | Sep 28, 2021 |
Cette critique a été écrite dans le cadre des Critiques en avant-première de LibraryThing.
I found The Burning Blue to be written in an accessible and engaging style that kept my attention from the first pages. The book explains the desire of NASA and its supporters to recapture the public's attention and its support for America's space program. Putting a "Teacher in Space" seemed to be the program that would do just that. Out of approximately 11,000 applicants, Christa McAuliffe was chosen to be the first private citizen in space with a stated purpose of teaching several lessons to schoolchildren while orbiting Earth, thereby inspiring interest in science and technology. Christa also had her own goals of wanting to bring attention and respect to the profession of teaching and of following in the steps of the pioneer women she taught about in one of her high school social studies classes. Cook also introduces readers to the five astronauts and other payload specialist who made up Challenger's crew: Commander Dick Scobee, Pilot Mike Smith, Mission Specialists Judith Resnick, Ellison Onizuka, Ron McNair, and Payload Specialist Gregory Jarvis. I appreciated the insight into their backgrounds and personal and professional lives and the inclusion of this material brought me into the story in a way that a simple recounting of the technical problems that led to the disaster would not have done. Cook does a nice job of explaining those issues as well as covering the last days of the crew, the horrifying minutes following the explosion, and the recovery efforts and subsequent investigation. The ways in which the Challenger tragedy impacted the space program are also discussed. Overall, this was a wonderful tribute of remembrance to the Challenger crew as well as a well-researched historical accounting of this important event in American history. This is the sort of high-interest nonfiction book that can appeal to both teens and adults. All readers can reflect on the critical errors made by NASA and the lessons to be drawn from these and applied to future space missions, while also appreciating the dedication, bravery, sense of purpose, and hopes of those who dare to explore the final frontier of space. ( )
  Dgryan1 | Aug 7, 2021 |
Cette critique a été écrite dans le cadre des Critiques en avant-première de LibraryThing.
Kevin Cook’s The Burning Blue: The Untold Story of Christa McAuliffe and NASA’s Challenger Disaster is a compelling look at that ill-fated Space Shuttle mission that took the lives of seven astronauts, including Christa McAuliffe, the first Teacher in Space, on January 28, 1986. The author begins with the backstory and personality profiles of the astronauts, with particular focus on McAuliffe, a schoolteacher from Concord, New Hampshire, who was selected for the mission from a nationwide competition. The narrative seamlessly moves to the extensive flight training and preparation, and then to the shocking disaster itself and its aftermath of investigations and recriminations. I’m pretty sure there’s not too much in here that can be considered “untold” (except for the author’s largely speculative account of the astronauts’ final moments), as I’ve heard or read the keys facts and findings before. Nevertheless, the book is laudable as it ably synthesizes the heartbreaking story of Christa McAuliffe with the exposé of NASA’s critical errors and flawed decision making that led directly to the tragedy. ( )
  ghr4 | Jul 15, 2021 |
Cette critique a été écrite dans le cadre des Critiques en avant-première de LibraryThing.
The title really irked me. Untold story? Exactly what part of this story do you think is untold? I always become very suspicious when an author says they're telling an unknown story, especially of a widely covered event. There have been numerous books and articles written about Challenger. What new and untold information is this author bringing to the table?

I was really emotional reading this story. The first part of the book introduces you to Christa and her selection as America's Teacher in Space. We later get to meet the crew assigned to STS-51L. This crew was amazing, and I think more should be said about them away from the cause of their ultimate deaths. Judy Resnik seemed like such a bad-ass. I would have loved to have known her. I also really felt for Greg Jarvis. Technically not an astronaut, he was bumped to this flight by two politicians, one of which is currently running NASA. Commander Scobee seemed like an outstanding commander, who really would have tried to save his ship until the bitter end. Reading this section really endeared this crew to me, tempered by the sadness of knowing what would ultimately happen to them.

The part of the book recounting the launch and initial explosion are powerfully written. One of the aspects of Challenger that gave it such an effect on the national memory was how much footage there was. Of the crew, of the launch, of the explosion, of mission control. Have you seen footage showing the faces at Mission Control after the explosion? Haunting.

The next section discusses what the author thinks likely happened in the crew cabin after the explosion. There is no recording of what may have happened, but science has determined what kind of stresses and events occurred. The author describes what he felt the astronauts would have done. It is absolutely confirmed that at least some of the crew survived the explosion. Switches were purposefully activated and oxygen packs were turned on. These multi-step actions could not have been accidently done. The author seems to make a big deal about the oxygen, as if that would have kept the crew alive all the way down to the ocean. He didn't seem to mention that this was only meaningful if the cabin hadn't depressurized. The oxygen systems that the crew were using were not pressurized. So even if the oxygen had been activated, it would not have benefited the astronauts in a depressurized cabin. There is no way of knowing if the cabin held or not, since it was smashed so thoroughly by the impact with the ocean. In the end, the final impact was not survivable in any way, shape or form. If any crew members had survived to this point, that impact was the end.

Was this the untold part of the story? No. None of this is news.

We then get into the technical part of the book, dealing with debris recovery, failure analysis, responsibility and the investigation. Through the investigation process, most everyone seemed to be trying to earn NASA some goodwill. Yeah, not Feynman. Richard Feynman's involvement with the investigation is an interesting story in itself. Also not an untold story.

The author then returns to the families of the crew, who we were introduced to the in the earlier part of the book. Something that is often overlooked in the tragedy were the children left behind. Babies, too young to remember their dead parent. I felt like we heard more about the families in this book than in other works, so it added a nice touch to this book.

I really appreciated the author's notes, describing where he got his sources for the book. If you wanted to know where a certain fact or statement came from, you can easily find the origin.

Overall, I think this was a great book. I would recommend this to almost anyone. Those old enough to have lived through the event first-hand, and those too young to remember. But I'm still not sure what exactly the untold part was. ( )
  LISandKL | Jul 14, 2021 |
Cette critique a été écrite dans le cadre des Critiques en avant-première de LibraryThing.
If someone asked, you probably couldn't remember where you were on January 28th, 1986, but if the question was phrased a little differently I know you can: "Where were you when NASA's space shuttle Challenger exploded?" Say the name Christa McAuliffe and everyone knows her name.
As outsiders witness to the unforgettable horror, we all have preconceived notions of what really happened that day. Cook takes the Challenger tragedy and puts a face to all who were impacted. Christa and her fellow space travelers were not the only souls lost on 1986's twenty-eighth day. It is obvious from the level of personal detail, Cook researched the entire event very carefully and was extremely thorough. It is a well-told tale.
In truth, I had a hard time reading it. Just knowing every chapter would take me closer to the time of McAuliffe's demise made it hard to continue.
An added eeriness to McAuliffe's story is just how often the dangers were alluded to as she trained for the event. It was if there were signs trying to tell her not to join the launch. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jul 10, 2021 |
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"Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew --
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."
     -- from the poem "High Flight,"
        by John Gillespie Magee
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To the memory of Dick Scobee, Michael Smith, Elisson Onizuka, Judith Resnick, Ronald McNair, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe
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They were all on edge.
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