Wheels Stop: The Tragedies and Triumphs of the Space Shuttle Program, 1986-2011

Rick Houston. Univ. of Nebraska, $36.95 (480p) ISBN 978-0-8032-3534-2
Flush with the glow of the 1969 Apollo moon landing, a technological and Cold War political triumph, NASA devoted itself to the space shuttle. This was an advanced vehicle that vastly expanded man’s spacefaring abilities and demonstrated the achievements as well as the problems of a complex government program in which (unlike Apollo) money was an object. Journalist Houston (Second to None: The History of the NASCAR Busch Series) writes 10 long, more or less chronological chapters on the 135 flights. Clearly a space buff and not a historian, he fills his account with astronaut biographies, interviews, and quotes; technical details; personal rivalries; and often stormy NASA politics. The Challenger and Columbia disasters receive their grim chapters along with another on the greatest achievement—launching and caring for the Hubble Space Telescope. Readers will find the section on American–Russian space flights absorbing, and will be mourning the end of the shuttle program by the final chapter. America has no manned program in the works, so those curious about the next big step must look to China and console themselves with this enthusiastic portrayal of the heroic age of American space travel. (Dec)
Reviewed on: 10/07/2013
Release date: 00/00/0000
Open Ebook - 456 pages - 978-0-8032-4893-9
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