Scott Parazynski was John Glenn’s personal in-flight physician in 1998 when Glenn returned to space at age 77, and Parazynski was also the spacewalker that famously and most dangerously repaired an energized solar panel while dangling off the end of a 90 foot robotic arm!
With all those credentials I was expecting an interesting but straightforward read in which the dashing hero makes a steady progression from one amazing accomplishment to another. Sort of an “I did this, then I did that,” sort of story.
It was a story of amazing accomplishments, but it was more! The coolest parts of the story are the side-tracks and tangents and unintended things that crop up and threaten to derail his amazing life. It is far more inspiring to see how he deals with an autistic daughter, a potentially career-ending medical crisis brought on by a scientific expedition to the top of an extinct volcano, and a divorce caused (in part) by his fanatical dedication to his job.
So, if you like stories of science, astronauts, and God’s providence, I’d recommend The Sky Below.
Incidentally, yesterday the other astro-Scott, Scott Kelly, released his memoir titled Endurance. I haven’t read it yet, but it looks interesting!
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