For the first time the inside story of Russia's marketing of their space program to the West is chronicled by one who was there. The colorful tales are told, warts and all.
How the door to Russia's long hidden space program was opened during the era of Soviet perestroika, the political struggle on the signing of the first contract between the Russians and NASA, the push to change space station Freedom into a cooperative venture, the willingness of the Russians to use free markets against the wishes of NASA and how the Russian space station Mir became a commercial platform, are all told in a relaxed and engaging style by the author, who is the only American ever to work within the Russian space program.
The book chronicles the author's 14 year journey to use Russian assets to strengthen the American space program.Included is the behind-the-scenes of signing Dennis Tito, working with entertainment icons like James Cameron and Mark Burnett and the electrifying ride that was MirCorp. The book discusses the boycott organized by NASA to prevent MirCorp's success and the drama behind the world's only commercial manned expedition that sent two men to the Mir space station for over two months, with no government funding.
It is a tale of strong characters. Readers are given a front-row seat on the decade-long clash between the Russian chief Yuri Semenov and NASA's Dan Goldin, a paradoxical battle that saw the Russians embracing American open markets and NASA clinging to the Cold War model for space exploration.
This powerful memoir is a timely exposé, as a new US administration and the public will question the next steps in foreign policy, space exploration and relations with Russia.
"If you care anything about the future of spaceflight, you must read this exciting true story of a group of Americans and Russians who fought bureaucrats and cold war thinking to keep a cranky old space station in orbit. Manber tells his story well as he and his fellow dreamers and doers traverse the globe, determined to plant a capitalist flag aboard a communist spacecraft. Theirs is the story of the type of men and women who will eventually conquer space and turn such stodgy government agencies as NASA into historical derelicts. Highly recommended!"
--Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys/October Sky
"Jeffrey - I look forward to your upcoming book on what can only be described as the rollercoaster ride to the stars, the difficult birth of the commercial space program. Few people know the intrigues, the scandals, the incredible river of politics surrounding the Russian and American space programs. You were there, with a front row seat in a sometimes bitter battle between space agencies."
--Dana Lewis, Fox Foreign Correspondent, Moscow
"In all the ways that count, the thrilling new era of commercial spacefaring began when a scrappy start-up called MirCorp took on the status quo and turned it inside-out. No one was further inside this riveting story than Jeffrey Manber: if you want to know why and how the new space revolution began, Manber’s book is a must-read."
-–Greg Klerkx, Author of "Lost in Space"