[FPSPACE] David Whitehouse book, "One Small Step"

James E Oberg jameseoberg at comcast.net
Wed Feb 9 15:11:01 EST 2011

I've just been looking over David Whitehouse book, "One Small Step",
Quercus, London, 2009. He's a former BBC science correpsondent.

The book has a DVD with some very interesting space history "sound bites".

But what struck me most is that the text, where it is accurate, appears to
have been lifted word-for-word from Asif's "Challenge to Apollo". After documenting
about a dozen examples I just stopped looking.

The author's strategy seems to be a sound one (the NASA book is not
subject to copyright so he broke no laws) since when he inserts original stuff,
it's often nonsense. P. 32: Vostok test versions launched from Baikonur into
a suborbital trajectory to splash down in the Pacific, where US Navy ships
watched;  p. 37, since Gagarin's ejection seat wouldn't save him on the pad, 
a giant net was set up 1500 meters from the pad to catch him if he had to eject
(might this be accurate??); p. 39, strap-ons separate after 19 seconds...

Some stuff might be accurate and I just haven't been keeping up: p. 47,
Titov's pre-entry separation also hung up on cables, as did subsequent
missions -- but all burned through and pulled free, safely. 

Just my two cents.

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