Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Off the Planet: Surviving Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station Mir” as Want to Read:
Off the Planet: Surviving Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station Mir
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Off the Planet: Surviving Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station Mir

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  266 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
On January 2, 1997, Jerry M. Linenger launched aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis en route to an historic rendezvous: the Space Station Mir, where he was to be one of the few American astronauts to formally partner with Russian cosmonauts, as part of a joint initiative to prepare for a New International Space Station. the 11-year old Mir was battered and dilapidated, and op ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published December 12th 2000 by McGraw-Hill Companies (first published July 1st 1999)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Off the Planet, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Off the Planet

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jul 17, 2012 Terri rated it liked it
I’m not usually a big fan of non-fiction, and despite my fascination with space, probably never would have picked this book up but for my dad. When my mom won a trip to Hawaii in May, Jerry Linenger was one of the guest speakers at the event. My dad came back and told me all about it and how much I would’ve loved the talk, so I got his book from the library.

Off the Planet is a fascinating look at what life aboard the Russian space station was like for an American astronaut. The beginning was a l
Sarah Liu
Jun 03, 2013 Sarah Liu rated it it was ok
I thoroughly respect Dr. Linenger as an astronaut, as a doctor, as a courageous individual who can overcome any obstacle in his life. I am thankful for the sacrifices he made, and his dedication to the success of his missions.

Unfortunately, the same characteristics that an individual requires to accomplish all that he has, well they make for pretty bad reading. The first half of the book consists of him delineating his achievements, all of which helped his ego grow (justifiably) to the size of
Sep 09, 2013 Cathleen rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
My husband recommended this book and I actually found it really interesting, even though I started reading it a year ago then left it with l/4 to read. I finally picked it up again and finished it. I don't know how anyone could survive that long up on the Russian Space Station -Mir. Very difficult, physically & mentally.
Jun 08, 2017 Whitney rated it really liked it
I don't disagree with the reviewers who said that Linenger comes across as cocky, but it didn't detract from the narrative for me; I mean if you write a memoir it's because you think you have something special to say and there's no denying his accomplishments. His account is personal and passionate. Arrogance notwithstanding he doesn't write as though he has a beef with any particular person and has kind things to say about pretty much all of the other astronauts he served with. In fact the only ...more
This book is part biography, part astronaut memoir, and focuses on NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger's eventful mission aboard the Russian space station Mir in 1997.

Linenger was one of about a half-dozen American astronauts who trained in Russia for missions during a transitional program called Phase One. That program was partly meant to establish a partnership with the Russian space program, and it was also to give American astronauts experience aboard the Mir space station while the planned Americ
Tom Callen
Apr 21, 2016 Tom Callen rated it it was amazing
I have to say that I truly enjoyed reading this book. I tend to collect and read books from astronauts involved in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo era of NASA. Only recently have I expanded to astronaut bio's in the Shuttle era. But I'm glad I read this one.

Dr. Linenger has a way of describing events and scenarios that painted a nearly complete picture in my mind. I could really imagine the difficulties faced on the space station when the air quality became questionable (when pressurizing and tes
Vienkāršā valodā uzrakstīts stāsts par to, kā notika kosmosa izpēte XX gadsimta 90-jos gados.
Man pirms tam nebija nekādu zināšanu par to, kā notiek lidošana uz kosmisko telpu, kā noris sadzīve orbitālajā stacijā, vien kaut kādi priekšstati, kas reizēm patiesībai atbilda vien aptuveni. Tagad es zinu, ka pacelšanās no Floridas nav saistīta tikai ar to, ka tuvumā ir okeāns un tajā var samest nesējraķetes izmantotos posmus (izrādās, ka pat tie tiek nolaisti ar izpletņiem un pēc tam savākti). Ir arī
Sep 10, 2016 Kim rated it it was amazing
I saw Jerry Linenger speak at - of all things - an Agile software user's conference. One of the best experiences of my life, and totally caught off guard by it. I would say he is the person that got me more interested in space. What an incredible speaker! This book describes Jerry's experience aboard the Mir space station, including problems such as a fire that broke out. At the time, Jerry held the record for the longest duration in space of an American male at that time. A great read for not j ...more
Ryan McArthur
Mar 08, 2012 Ryan McArthur rated it really liked it
A real warts and all look at living on the Mir space station. Hopefully the ISS is better? This book made me want to find out more about living on the ISS, since its nearly 20 years since this book was written.

The writer is an unashamed egotist, and goes on a lot about his acheievements (the first chapter is basically a very fast run through of his life up to being selected to go into space, and he has done a lot of things, and it feels like he has the need to list most of them, sometimes twice!
Oct 22, 2014 Jasper rated it it was ok
First I (tried to) read Chris Hadfield's "An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth", but I was very disappointed by the personal "be prepared" motif and the lack of emphasis on science / space stories. So I did a bit of research for related books and gave this book a try. If Hadfield's book was 10% science, this book was 45% science, but it still suffered from astronaunt egotism. However, I really enjoyed the US - Russian politics, the descriptions of training & cross cultural experiences in Rus ...more
Laurie Green
Aug 22, 2010 Laurie Green rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(4.5 stars is not an option, but that's my true rating.)

Excellent reference on life in space as told by an astronaut-cosmonaut onboard the failing Mir space station. At times fascinating, terrifying and eye-opening, it not only gave me some excellent material for my science fiction romance novels, but it educated, entertained and provided personal insights into several life-threatening events that were either withheld from, or grossly downplayed to, the general public at the time.

Personally, I w
Nov 19, 2011 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: book
Fascinating story of Capt. Linenger's five month stay on the Russian space station Mir. Linenger is a type-a, gung-ho astronaut with multiple degrees, all kinds of military experience and a passion for athletic endeavors. His description of his time on Mir is probably as close as any of us are going to get to actually spending time in space. And Mir was 11 years old at the time of this mission - well beyond the number of years it was designed to last. With Russia broke, needed maintenance was no ...more
May 16, 2012 Doug rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. Captain Linnenger does a great job explaining his trials, thrills, and the amazing experiences and adventures he went on throughout his experience training for and living on Mir for five months. If you are excited about space in any way, or ever dreamed of being an astronaut, you will love reading this book. His words and actions are very inspirational and motivating. I saw him speak at a work conference and have been excited about reading this book ever since ...more
Mar 24, 2008 Susan rated it liked it
If you're interested in the space program, you'd probably like this book. I found the stories about the shuttle and Mir to be fascinating. The author really conveys what it would be like to live on Mir. What I did not like about this book is how enamored with himself the author was. He spent a lot of time detailing his many accomplishments and it got old fast. I'm sure I'd be very proud of myself if I'd accomplished all he has, but I hope I wouldn't be quite so cocky. Anyway, read this for the g ...more
Aug 28, 2012 Aleah rated it it was ok
To start off, I did not really enjoyed the book. Space, planets, and galaxies are things I have no interest in. However, I do recommend this book to people who are into those things. At first, I thought it would be boring, but this book is actually full of adventure. I actually learned from this book, which is pretty surprising. It was also funny at some points since he talked about his experiences coming back to Earth. If you're interesting in the overall theme of this book, then you should def ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Julyn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hope to never have to read another book by this man ever again. Every detail is described and future events are mixed in with current events or events happening elsewhere, confusing me about the timeline of the story. The only reason I picked this up- and stuck with it- is because of summer reading. If I could I would give this book 0 stars. It was so boring and dry. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.
Brandon Jensen
Sep 26, 2008 Brandon Jensen rated it liked it
An astronaut who trains with the cosmonauts and lives on Mir. I appreciated that someone would stand up and say that life in space is difficult and precarious, but beautiful and enriching. I was appalled that the Russians continued the pretext of Mir being in good when, in fact, it was slowing falling apart. I'm glad that Linenger was able to cut through the politics give us the truth about that relationship.
Feb 16, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it
I've read a lot of astronaut biographies and autobiographies but this was in a new league, Linenger certainly is a character and I think would have been a bit macho and egotistical even for the early astronauts. Hi accounts of life on MIR were interesting as were the accounts of relations with the ground while he was in space but I wonder at the accuracy and how much really was him butting heads due to personality.
An okay read but made me want to read a more balanced book.
Nov 14, 2011 Andrew rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, science, travel
A fascinating look at the real side of the modern space program. Goes past the glossy headlines into what life as an astronaut really requires. The stories from Linenger's time on MIR are particularly captivating. One can't help but marvel that accidents weren't more common.

The writing is good, not exceptional, but the author's voice comes through. An enjoyable read for anyone with an interest in the space program, particularly if you've only read about Apollo or the early days of NASA.
Jul 01, 2016 dejah_thoris rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
I didn't realize he was a Michiganian when I started, but now that I've finished, I'm going to see if he's still alive. If so, I'm definitely writing him a letter because he has faced some of the most amazing challenges a human being can experience. If you want a true story similar to the The Martian, read Linenger's harrowing tale of trying to survive Soviet ground control and its risky assignments. Definitely a must-read for anyone yearning to leave the planet.
Larry Levine
Attended the session at our Sales Conference where Astronaut Jerry Linenger delivered the motivational session. It was awe-striking to hear of his escapades in space, his fears, his wonders, and mostly his thoughts and insight into his family's feelings of his time in space. Question period that followed was very insightful as well. He was such a motivation that he was asked to deliver at our Kickoff and at the following conference.

This is a personally signed book from June 2004
May 24, 2011 C.G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Having met Jerry Linenger at work one day, I got his book at the library and read it, finding it engrossing and sometimes suspenseful. He doesn't make a secret of his feelings about Russian space control but his respect and admiration for his fellow astronauts also comes through. A thoroughly enjoyable look inside the life of astronauts on the now-defunct MIR space station.
May 19, 2012 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: space, non-fiction, haveit
An easy read that for me, an avid space fan, fleshed out the amazing story of Mir with the first hand experiences and words of Linenger. Mir was an adventure life there a daily risk and fight to stay alive. A good read for any space fan or history buff. Anyone who takes what our country's Astronauts do for granted will come a vastly different view at the end of this read.
Mar 24, 2008 Lee rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
The true story of technical achievement, failure and politics while a couple of people try to maintain life on a failing space station Mir. What life was like in space even without power and a raging fire, air supplies dwindling and no immediate prospect of help. Stay and keep it flying or jettison in a emergency capsule and lose everything, with no guarantee the escape capsule will work.
Charity Bradford
Aug 19, 2008 Charity Bradford rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I just couldn't get into it. I enjoyed the first chapter, but then it just seemed like he was bragging on himself. Granted he has reason to brag, but it took too long to get through his credentials and I like things to be in a story format.
Salvatore M
Jan 23, 2008 Salvatore M rated it really liked it
Non-fiction of true hero and true space adventure, courage and yes..survival. While argument can be made for alternative use of NASA budget dollars, i for one, think Space and the quest of space travel worthy of our tax dollars. The incredible astronauts are really best of the best.
Wil Freve
Jan 10, 2009 Wil Freve rated it really liked it
An amazing account of being an astronaut and spending months in a space station. Presented with enough scientific discussion to keep "techies" interested, but also presented at a very human level to keep casual reader engaged.
Nicole Smithson
May 27, 2012 Nicole Smithson rated it really liked it
One of my Facebook friends highly recommended this book. I had not heard of the book before and did not know much about space travel (aside from watching the movie Space Camp about 100 times). The book was interesting and informative. Dr. Linenger is a hero and inspiration.
Jun 13, 2012 Raymond rated it did not like it
America's worst astronaut tells his story. There is some reading here but this guy is egocentric and an aloof jerk. I suggest you read other books on MIR and Dr. Linenger's conduct including his EVA on MIR.
May 06, 2011 Jenifer rated it really liked it
historic and a part of space that is gone with the destruction of the Mir. Astronaut Linenger was inspirational while I recovered from gall bladder surgery.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dragonfly: NASA and the Crisis Aboard Mir
  • Korolev: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon
  • Deke!: An Autobiography
  • "Live from Cape Canaveral": Covering the Space Race, from Sputnik to Today
  • Light This Candle: The Life & Times of Alan Shepard--America's First Spaceman
  • Flight: My Life in Mission Control
  • The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America's Race in Space
  • Sky Walking: An Astronaut's Memoir
  • The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight
  • Dr. Space: The Life of Wernher Von Braun
  • Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut
  • Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race
  • Starman: The Truth Behind The Legend Of Yuri Gagarin
  • First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong
  • This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age (Modern Library Paperbacks)
  • Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon
  • Empire of the Stars: Obsession, Friendship and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes
  • Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization

Share This Book