Space: A Visual History of Manned Spaceflight contains a fascinating collection of historical film and still photography chronicling the US space program. Beginning with the launch of Alan Shepard on his Mercury Redstone rocket in 1961, then continuing through the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Shuttle missions, Space blends official NASA film footage with written text and audio descriptions.
Space is something between an encylopedia and a history book -- call it (as the publisher does) an almanac. This means that some areas are covered in depth, while others are passed over at the 50,000 foot level. For example, did you know that a spider can spin a web in zero-gravity? An experiment on the Shuttle proved that they can. On the other hand, little is shown of the initial Mercury flights, other than Alan Shepard's first flight, and John Glenn's first orbital flight. Regardless, Space provides an excellent visual introduction to, and overview of, the history of the American manned space program.
The program allows users to view the material from several different perspectives. One can follow a timeline, or select from an extensive (but not exhaustive) list of individual missions, or even drill down by specific topics in a simple index. Unfortunately, the full-text search capability indicated on the program's packaging was not found by any of our testers.
The creators of Space wisely decided to allow the material they used to provide the spice of the program. No fancy animations, no cutesy characters -- and it works. This program is appealing to students interested in space, and based on our testing, was also popular with baby-boomer parents and teachers who remembered watching the race to the moon as it happened.
Ease of Use / Install
Space ran direct from the CD on our Mac test machine with no difficulties. Navigation within the program is intuitive -- a lucky thing, since there is no manual.
Best for... / Bottom-Line
Space is a wonderful compilation of fascinating films and history, especially for those with dreams of going to the stars, or memories of man's first steps beyond our planet.