Red Star in Orbit : The Inside Story of Soviet Failures and Triumphs in Space by James E. Oberg ; Foreword by Tom Wolfe
New York : Random House, 1981. First Edition. Hardcover. 272 pages ; b/w photographs ; 20 cm. $12.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
"Oberg has widened considerably the breach in the wall of secrecy around the Soviet space program... The skill with which he sifts hard data from hearsay and reconstitutes bits of information from his researches is an exciting process in itself. He is doing the work that Soviet historians should have embarked upon years ago but did not and, of course, never Will." -Tom Wolfe
In 1957 the Soviet Union shocked the world into the space age when it launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite. More shocks quickly followed—the first moon shot, the first man and later the first woman in space, and others. No one then knew the extent or direction of the Soviet program, and only now, more than twenty years later, is the line between fact and rumor becoming clear.
Red Star in Orbit is the fascinating and often surprising story of the Soviet space effort. Written by one of the leading Soviet space watchers in the United States, this book tells us for the first time:
• How Khrushchev sponsored early space successes as political surprises sprung on the West—as well as on his own domestic rivals.
• The life story of Sergey Korolev, the mysterious "chief designer" never mentioned in public until his death, who survived Stalin's GULag camps to lead Russia into space.
• The facts of the "slaughter at Tyuratam" in October 1960, when Khrushchev's need for another space spectacular led to the tragic death of forty top rocket engineers (and the general who commanded them) in a launch-pad disaster.
• About the space circuses of the late 1960s following the Soviet Union's failure in the moon race—and how they convinced most of the West there had never been a race at all.
• About the "forged" photographs that revealed unlucky cosmonauts airbrushed "down the memory hole" of Soviet history.
• About Apollo-Soyuz, the quarter-billion-dollar handshake in space—as one American astronaut quipped, "with our arms around their shoulders and their hands in our pockets."
• How the Soviet Union's recent space-sta-tion expeditions have doubled and re-doubled space records formerly held by Americans, while cosmonauts learn to make themselves at home—permanently —in space.
In Red Star in Orbit, James Oberg penetrates the secrecy-shrouded Russian space program —not only telling of its unpublicized disasters and giving credit to its recent successes but also showing that its cosmonauts, like our astronauts, often indeed have "the right stuff."
JAM ES E. OBERG is a computer analyst currently working on the Space Shuttle at NASA Mission Control in Houston, Texas, where he frequently lectures to the astronauts and to the center as a whole on the Soviet space effort. In 1977, Oberg—who speaks and reads Russian and has traveled in Russia and Eastern Europe —was named a Distinguished Lecturer of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and was sent to many aerospace centers to give briefings on Soviet activities. The National Space Club in Washington, D.C., has twice awarded him the Robert Goddard Memorial History Prize for his Soviet-related research, which includes special dissertations on Sputnik and on the true history of the U.S./Soviet moon race. Oberg is also a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, and his articles, some of which elicited vigorous controversy, have appeared in its monthly Spaceflight throughout the 1970s. In addition, Oberg serves as a consultant to the Library of Congress, the National Air and Space Museum, and Dr. Gerard O'Neill's Space Studies Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.
A regular contributor to OMNI magazine, Oberg has written more than a hundred articles on space and space flight. He has also written the Soviet space entries for the new American Academic Encyclopedia and does an annual update of Soviet activity for the AIA A and for the authoritative Space Log, published by TRW, Inc.
Born in New York City, James Oberg now lives with his wife and son on a ranch in rural Galveston County, Texas.
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