The story begins with a man on his way to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. I read about snow, ice, cold, wind, and a back ache. He does not reach the summit and is forced to return feeling depressed and defeated. The story continues with Scott Parazynski as a young boy dreaming of being an astronaut. Moving from country to country; Africa, Middle East, Egypt, Russia, Poland, Turkey, India, Greece, Iran, Japan plus other countries. Along the travels with his parents, he learns various languages and decides to become a doctor. His schooling has him in Colorado where he mountain climbs many of the 14ers in between his classes.
Through his adventures that are vividly described in the book, his objective is to become an astronaut and go into space. He was born on July 28, 1961, three months after Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin's space flight and at eight years old he was at the Apollo 9 launch in Florida on March 3, 1969. The story continues with his training, mishaps, and his four travels into space. Never being one to pay attention to NASA and what they were doing, the story lets the reader live side by side with the astronauts. It helps that the Kindle version has short videos to watch what is being read.
The excitement of the Challenger completing its work and then lost is traumatic and sad. I remember reading and watching television but somehow the description in the book made it more real. I did not know that the Challenger had made nine trips safely and on the tenth mission it did not make it and all seven astronauts were killed.
Parazynski made five visits into space and retired in March, 2009. I had no idea that the space shuttles traveled at 17,000 per hour. He is the only person to fly in space and also reach the top of Mt. Everest. He lists his hometown as Palo Alto, CA and Evergreen, CO. He mentions that one of his greatest moments was when he traveled with famous seventy-seven year old John Glenn (first to orbit earth in 1962). It was a mission to see how "old" people functioned in space. Another great moment for Parazynski was when he reached the summit of Mt. Everest, (on his second attempt) making him the only man to fly in space and to reach the top of Mt. Everest.
The story is written with humor, sadness, joy and knowledge. I not only learned more about the space program, what was happening on the space labs and to whom, what floats around in space, his personal life with friendships, heartaches and happy moments. His description of what he felt at take off and his feelings on the space ship opened my eyes at how frightening it must have been. Well, frightening for someone like me but probably not for the astronauts! A life of a man destined for excitement, love and ups and downs of life. Literally, more ups (space) than downs (scuba diving)!
If it is read on the Kindle, the benefits of short videos gives the reader a feeling of being there with the author. You meet his family, his wife and children, climb ice fields, and see him floating in space. This is truly a story I would recommend because it opened my eyes to the space program and what a person can do when his/her mind is set to do it!
"Everything is possible
until proven impossible,
and then you just need
to become more creative"