Reviews - What do customers think about Space Manual?
A coffee table piece Jun 22, 2001
This book is primarily for designers or collectors of beautiful things, with the added bonus of being filled with interesting facts about our explorations into space, focusing mainly on the design problems of creating an environment that compensates for the needs of the astronauts. I'm not a Space-buff, and did not know alot of the info in this book, for example, did you know that an astronauts sense of taste and colour fades in space?
From a designers point of view, probably its best feature is its packaging, coming in a custom sealed plastic bag and heavy textured silver cardboard cover. This book makes a very nice conversation piece, it uses interesting materials for the cover, binding and pages, with quite intricate and interesting layouts. The pages are all light card, full colour, dye-cut with rounded corners, stick out tabs for each chapter, a few 'mini-pages' for variety, and a big silver binding ring that is fixed firmly to the book making it easy to view all the pages completely, without being at all cumbersome (as I expected it would be).
This is one of those books that hides on your shelf, until someone rediscovers it and you are again reminded of how exciting and unconventional books can be.
However it does feel like it's only skimming the surface of the subject material, and there just aren't enough pages to satiate my desire. However perhaps less is more, unlike other design books, every page is interesting, even if there are only 36 pages (NOT 93 as listed above).
Interesting but short on material Nov 11, 1999
This book has some interesting details on living in space but is a little thin on the ground. There is plenty to write about on the subject and there could have been much more content. The backs of the pages are blank -- it would have been easy to fill them.
Pictures are a mix from US, European, and Russian space programs of different eras. The page on space suits, for example, shows a large picture of an Apollo suit and small shots of someone putting on the Shuttle suit (without clearly labelling them as such). The sections on food show a mix of US and Russian rations. Shuttle, Skylab, and ISS pictures are mixed up, sometimes without explanation of which is which. I would have liked to see more of a focus on the upcoming International Space Station -- I'm sure there is a wealth of information already available from NASA and other agencies.
The text is translated from German and is technically correct. In places it is a little stiff or oddly phrased.
If you can find them, Kerry Joels' "Mars One Crew Manual" and "Space Shuttle Operators Manual" are older but better books in the same line. Teens with a strong interest in space travel might find "Space Manual" interesting, but the text is going to be too difficult for younger readers.