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Dragonfly: NASA and the Crisis Aboard Mir

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  471 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
On 2/12/97, two Russian cosmonauts joined an American astronaut on board the only permanent manned space outpost, the 11-year-old Mir. It was to be a routine mission, the 4th of seven trips to Mir that NASA astronauts would take as dress rehearsals for the two countries' partnership in a new Intern'l Space Station they were building back on Earth. But there'd been bad omen ...more
Published January 7th 1999 (first published January 16th 1997)
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May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work-related, space
I only read this book because my coworker/kinda boss lent it to me ... but it's still a good book, very readable. About a lot of it is about the horrendously screwed up politics of NASA, which makes me wonder why I work there. But there is also the completely awesome story of the unmanned Progress colliding with Mir and banging a hole in it, and the crew having to seal off the module and then stop the disabled station from spinning by using the thrusters on their Soyuz escape pod. The plot could ...more
Michael Brown
Wow, the close calls that happened on Mir are just jaw-dropping. Fire, spaceship crash, decompression, power loss, just to name the big ones. Some of the other disasters are slower, due to an aging space station, and terrible politics. The Shuttle-Mir program sent American visitors to the Russian Mir space station from 1994 to 1998. This detailed account is at times nerve-wracking; if I didn't know everybody survives in the end, it have been hard to read.

The politics, bureaucracy, and miscommuni
This is one of the best space histories I've ever read, although it has one major flaw.

I read it first in 2000 and began reading it again last year but had to abandon it for other priorities.

Dragonfly is about the so-called 'Phase One' program to put American astronauts aboard the Russian space station Mir for missions in the mid 1990s.

Phase One was a result of the Clinton administration's decision to transform the American space station Freedom from a national project to an international, coope
Sep 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Bryan Burrough is one of the coauthors of “Barbarians at the Gate”, the story of RJR Nabisco, and has done an excellent job chronicling the joint “Phase I” space collaboration program between the Russians and the Americans on board Mir, the aging Russian space station. This was the first time that the two nations were collaborating on the something as big as their space programs and they brought in a lot of baggage from the cold war and from their respective cultures and attitudes.
The Phase-I pr
Jan 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A nearly forgotten footnote in the history of the space program is a series of joint missions where US astronauts spent months living on the post-Soviet Russian Mir space station as practice and prelude to the International Space Station.

Dragonfly by Bryan Burrough chronicles the calamities that afflicted those missions. First of all, by all accounts the Mir station was dump held together by baling wire and sheer persistence. Also, the Russian space program was this weirdly dysfunctional system
Royce Ratterman
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
From the politics of astronaut/cosmonaut training and the selection of mission crews, to the personal tensions and psychological idiosyncrasies of the space travelers themselves, this book moved at a good pace for the most part.
Though a slightly different account, actually more detailed, than NASA Astronaut Jerry Linenger related in his book "Letters from MIR" (written letters to his son) this tale is captivating, though many of the 'technical facts' may need to be corrected and/or verified.
No s
David Dranchak
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do you want to go to space but are having trouble coming up with the $200,000 that it would take to get you there? Reading Bryan Burroughâs, Dragonfly: NASA And The Crisis Aboard Mir may be the next best thing!

Once I started reading Dragonfly I could not put it down. Burroughâs ability to describe and explain life aboard the Mir space station in great visual detail as well as portray the personalities and interactions of the astronauts made it feel like I was actually there. Dragonfly provides a
Jul 26, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Space nuts
I felt like I had gone to see some galloping adventure flick after I finished this book. I learned a lot about the Russian space program, and the "Master-Slave" mentality that pervades it. It was fascinating to read about the American astronauts, and how they fit in (or didn't) during their long stays on Mir - how the adaptable ones got by and forged a strong bond with their cosmonaut counterparts, and how the rigid ones "failed to thrive". The explosion on Mir is so well-described that I felt I ...more
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I did this one on tape for a road trip. Thanks mostly to Russia, we've had an almost continuous human presence in space for many years. Everybody knows about the Neil Armstrongs and the disasters. This book shares many other stories that never became headlines. It centers around a fire that happened aboard Mir.

Equally interesting to me, Dragonfly provides an insider look into contemporary astronaut/kosmonaut culture. This includes an American astronaut who gets so fed up with the folks at Missi
Suzanne Auckerman
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it

I have had this book for a while. It came out it is about the NASA's mission to perform science experiments on MIR as a guest of the Russians. It is explains how and why this was politically motivated, interfaces with NASA and Congress, how the mission was dumped on NASA without adequate planning time or input from NASA. Mostly it explains the difference in the astronaut/cosmonaut cultures, reporting structures, and approach to maintenance and repairs. And lastly how this had to succee
Dennis Boccippio
Apr 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: space, 20th-century
Well researched, maybe not as well written. The story is told well and with depth, although there are some minor irritations such as overuse of not-so-subtle foreshadowing of the "crises" throughout the first half of the book. Burrough's book is not overly kind on the Russian or American astronaut corps, NASA's politicos (whether appointed or self-anointed), or either agency's version of MOD ... but nor is it likely unfair.

Overall, I'd say worth the read to catch up on an overlooked chapter in
M.H. Tardiff
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book gives a great deal of insight into the workings and failings of both NASA and Star City. The scenes detailed on the Mir are written in an engaging style that's every bit as exciting as a good piece of science fiction, only it's not fiction. The details of Mir life are fascinating, from the interaction of the two crews (Russian and their American guests) to the little known facts such as the secondary toilet installed beside the dining table (!)

If you like stuff about the space program,
Mar 29, 2011 marked it as abandoned
Recommended to Jeanne by: Mick
I love space stuff. This true-life tale is even more interesting because the main character is Jerry Linenger, Michigan native and current Suttons Bay resident. So far the book is painting him as quite the jerk. I ended up giving up on this book. I slogged through the beginning U.S.-Russian history lessons and the mostly dry agency politics to finally get to the good part - drama on the space station! Loved it, but then the author switched back to more lessons on U.S.-Russian relations and I jus ...more
Jadd Alsaidi
Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Although kind of long and a stretched out series of events, Dragonfly made you feel like you are an astronaut aboard Mir. The book walks you through the regular day of an astronaut aboard Mir, and at two points, described major incidents that put the station in peril. In all, a great novel to show the true lives of the astronauts aboard Mir.
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good overview of the NASA-Mir missions. It's enjoyable if not fascinating in describing early experiments with space station living, at least modern forms of it (the Russians had stations for years), and a look at NASA during what you could call the "boring years" of the 90's. At times very humorous, insightful, and compelling; all in the background of what I thought was a boring story.
iain meek
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A learned analysis and history of the Mir space station in 1997 with its mixed Russian and American crew which brings out the differing attitudes to safety of the two nations.
A great description of Michael Foale's view that the cosmonauts were regarded as puppets/ slaves of the Russian authorities and the claim that this is a standard Russian view!

thanks to Camden libraries
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
The topic was interesting, but I think the book could have been better written. It took me forever to force myself through the book and I'm glad to be done with it. You want an amazing book about NASA? Check out Riding Rockets, by Mike Mullane (former astronaut, and therefore actually knows what he's talking about, aside from being a great writer).
Sarah Eckert
Apr 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Very interesting and eye-opening about the crisis aboard Mir and the continuing space relationship between NASA and the Russian Space Agency. Puts a very human face on it, bringing out the different characters and cultures.
Dec 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating details of the Russian space station, and the joint venture between the U.S and Russia to build and maintain MIR. Did you know Russian cosmonauts regularly drank Vodka and smoked in space? A peek into Russia and the way it runs/ran.
Bough this because I did some research into the Progress collision about five years ago and wanted to get a more 'in depth' view. Great writing and a detailed overview of events. If you enjoy reading about space exploration, this is a great addition to your books.
Brian Grinter
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Interesting look at the NASA / Mir co-operation flights and the stuff that went wrong. Lots of behind the scenes going ons and the Progress collision too. Low Earth Orbit best described as "staring at the stars and pissing in jars".

Still waiting until we go to Mars... :-P
Jan 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Incredible story about the Soviet-Russian space station, including a fire onboard that they successfully fought.
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Was lent this book by a friend. Really enjoyed it!
Jen Thornton
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book which tackles both the technical and human failings of the space program.
Saskia (Smitie)
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
Much more interesting to read than I expected. You don't have to be a space fanatic to understand the story as Bryan Burrough explains all the machines and procedures in a clear way.
Antoine Reversat
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you're interested in the subject, it's a good non-artisan account of what happened. Sometimes it goes too deep in the politics of it though.
Jan 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Not a fast read, but quite engaging.
Javier C
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magnífica crónica de las misiones conjuntas ruso-norteamericanas a bordo de la Mir. Incluye tanto detallados relatos de las misiones
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Of the 4 books I read about NASA & Mir, this was by far the best. A thoroughly enjoyable and deep dive into the history, science, and geopolitics of the joint US / Russian missions to Mir.
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bryan Burrough's investigative reporting is a treasure (see also: Barbarians at the Gate) — littered with incredible, gripping details about the first space collaboration between the US and Russia
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Bryan Burrough joined Vanity Fair in August 1992 and has been a special correspondent for the magazine since January 1995. He has reported on a wide range of topics, including the events that led to the war in Iraq, the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, and the Anthony Pellicano case. His profile subjects have included Sumner Redstone, Larry Ellison, Mike Ovitz, and Ivan Boesky.

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