The Space Shuttle: Celebrating Thirty Years of NASA’s First Space Plane – Book Review

The Space Shuttle: Celebrating Thirty Years of NASA's First Space Plane, is a good book filled with amazing imagery. Photo Credit: Zenith Press

The space shuttle era – is done. The orbiters are being decommissioned, stripped of the components that allowed them to travel in space. For those that followed the program, those that wished they did and those with only a passing interest in what the program accomplished a new book has been produced covering the entirety of the thirty years that comprised NASA’s longest human space flight program. The Space Shuttle: Celebrating Thirty Years of NASA’s First Space Plane is written by aerospace author Piers Bizony and weighs in at 300 pages in length. 

The book contains 900 color images, detailing the entire history of NASA’s fleet of orbiters. From the first launches and the hope that those initial flights were rich in, to the Challenger tragedy and the subsequent realization that the space shuttles would never be what they were intended to be. 

The next phase of the book deals with the post-Challenger period and how NASA worked to find a balance with its fleet of orbiters, while at the same time worked to regain the trust of the America public. The path was both hindered and helped by a single payload – the Hubble Space Telescope. When the images the orbiting telescope beamed back turned out fuzzy, NASA was a laughing stock. Hubble would become a sensation and NASA redeemed its name after the first servicing mission to Hubble corrected the problem with the telescope’s mirror. 

NASA was now on course to begin construction of the most ambitious engineering feat in human history – the International Space Station. The Space Shuttle: Celebrating Thirty Years of NASA’s First Space Plane details this period, as well as the tragic loss of the shuttle Columbia in 2003 with great care and attention to detail. Many never-before-seen images are contained within and Bizony uses them to punctuate the history that the space shuttle accomplished with every flight. 

For those out there that consider themselves “shuttle huggers” this book is simply a must-have. It is perfect to take to autograph shows to be signed by astronauts (as every mission is detailed, it is a simple matter to have crew members sign on the pages that contain their missions). It is also a perfect gift for space aficionados this holiday season. Published by Zenith Press and retailing for $40.00, The Space Shuttle: Celebrating Thirty Years of NASA’s First Space Plane is a welcome addition to your home library.

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