With a title like Reference Guide to the International Space Station, this book doesn’t really need a back-cover blurb. It has one, however; and it says, “This book is designed to provide a broad overview of the International Space Station’s complex configuration, design, and component systems. As well, the sophisticated procedures required in the Station’s construction and operation are presented”. But this is not strictly accurate. The book’s overview is actually quite detailed – it gives, for example, the physical dimensions, and other related facts and figures, about every module of the ISS. It is also copiously illustrated (see sample pages here and here), with lots of wonderful photographs.
In fact, if I have one criticism of this book, it’s that it needs updating. It was originally published in 2006, so it’s already three years out of date. Given that the ISS was originally planned to be de-orbited in 2010 – although that’s likely to be extended to 2016 – it’s certainly time for a new edition of Reference Guide to the International Space Station.
Although the copy reviewed here was published by Apogee, Reference Guide to the International Space Station is actually a reprint of a NASA document – available in parts as PDFs on the NASA web site here. All the same, it’s an excellent resource and belongs in every self-respecting enthusiast’s collection.
Reference Guide to the International Space Station, edited by Gary Kitmacher (2006, Apogee Books, ISBN 978-1-894959-34-6, 98pp + appendix)