Basing his work on virtually untapped NASA archives, T. A. Heppenheimer has produced the second volume of his definitive history of the space shuttle. Volume Two traces the development of the shuttle through a decade of engineering setbacks and breakthroughs, program-management challenges, and political strategizing, culminating in the first launch in April 1981. The focus is on the engineering challenges—propulsion, thermal protection, electronics, onboard systems—and the author covers in depth the alternative vehicles developed by the U.S. Air Force and European countries. The first launch entailed a monumental amount of planning and preparation that Heppenheimer explains in detail.
1. A new science / 2. A hypersonic research airplane / 3. Conflict and innovation / 4. The million-horsepower engine / 5. High range and dry lakes / 6. Preparations / 7. The flight program / 8. The research program.
What they didn't want you to know "We all watched in shock and disbelief when Challenger was lost. Probably no one felt more disappointment and regret than Allan McDonald, who had warned us not to launch that day. His story tells of loss, grief, and the eventual rebuilding and recovery."--Robert "Hoot" Gibson, former Space Shuttle pilot and commander "A major contribution to a difficult episode in the history of human spaceflight."--Roger D. Launius, Division of Space History, Smithsonian Institution "McDonald tells the heartbreaking tale of how he saw his words of warning ignored, and the fateful consequences of that decision."--Donald C. Elder III, Eastern New Mexico University On a cold January morning in 1986, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Challenger, despite warnings against doing so by many individuals, including Allan McDonald. The fiery destruction of Challenger on live television moments after launch remains an indelible image in the nation's collective memory. In Truth, Lies, and O-Rings, McDonald, a skilled engineer and executive, relives the tragedy from where he stood at Launch Control Center. As he fought to draw attention to the real reasons behind the disaster, he was the only one targeted for retribution by both NASA and his employer, Morton Thiokol, Inc., makers of the shuttle's solid rocket boosters. In this whistle-blowing yet rigorous and fair-minded book, McDonald, with the assistance of internationally distinguished aerospace historian James R. Hansen, addresses all of the factors that led to the accident, some of which were never included in NASA's Failure Team report submitted to the Presidential Commission. Truth, Lies, and O-Rings is the first look at the Challenger tragedy and its aftermath from someone who was on the inside, recognized the potential disaster, and tried to prevent it. It also addresses the early warnings of very severe debris issues from the first two post-Challenger flights, which ultimately resulted in the loss of Columbia some fifteen years later.
2003 marks the centennial of manned flight, a major anniversary for an Earth-shattering accomplishment. The papers contained in this volume were presented at the 2003 American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting.
How could the newly authorized space shuttle help in the U.S. quest to build a large research station in Earth orbit? As a means of transporting goods, the shuttle could help supply the parts to the station. But how would the two entitles be physically linked? Docking technologies had to constantly evolve as the designs of the early space stations changed. It was hoped the shuttle would make missions to the Russian Salyut and American Skylab stations, but thesewere postponed until the Mir station became available, while plans for getting a new U. S. space station underway were stalled. In Linking the Space Shuttle and Space Stations, the author delves into the rich history of the Space Shuttle and its connection to these early space stations, culminating in the nine missions to dock the shuttle toMir. By 1998, after nearly three decades of planning and operations, shuttle missions to Mir had resulted in: • A proven system to link up the space shuttle to a space station• Equipment and hands-on experience in handling tons of materials• An infrastructure to support space station assembly and resupply Each of these played a pivotal role in developing the skills and procedures crucial to the creation of the later, much larger and far more complex International Space Station, as described in the companionvolume Assembling and Supplying the ISS: The Space Shuttle Fulfills Its Mission.