Software and Computer Engineering

Reading Notes for "Endurance" by Scott Kelly

Over the last week I read the book written by the NASA astronaut Scott Kelly.

He is most known for having spent one year in the ISS (International Space Station), being the subject of the “Twin Study”: He has a identical twin, who is also an astronaut and the medical data collected from both will further the understanding of the long-term effects of living in space under zero-gravity in the human body.

I found the book enjoyable, well-paced and engaging.

At various points, the contrast between the approach to space exploration taken by the United States and by Russia. Russia's approach focuses on simplicity, cost-effectiveness and reliability. The Russian Soyuz spacecraft having “outlived” the American Space Shuttle is a testament to how a simple, down-to-earth approach can be the most effective.

I also found interesting how the human relationship aspect and the inherited “traditions” (not to call them “superstitions”) are not disregarded even in the highly-technical domain of space.

After all, achieving the success of a space mission is a product of many successes: the individual's own accomplishment, by competently performing their assigned role and scope; the relationships between the members of the crew and their ability to work well together; as the support of the ground and mission control, with hundreds or thousands of specialists providing their technical advice.

Achieving something as hard as having humans in space is truly something inspiring, amplified by the fact of how this is a collaborative efforts between many nations, including the two former major Cold War antagonists, no less.

I appreciate having read this book, as it shares this unique experience of being an astronaut, flying on both the US side and the Russia side, as an honest and personal account.