This book details the stories of Challenger's missions from the points of view of the astronauts, engineers, and scientists who flew and knew her and the managers, technicians, and ground personnel who designed her and nursed her from humble beginnings as a structural test article into one of the most capable Shuttles in NASA's service. Challenger veterans, including Gordon Fullerton and Vance Brand, describe their experiences and the differences between Challenger and her sister ships. The development of Challenger herself is explored in detail, including her design, development, construction, and preparation for missions.
Author's preface.- Acknowledgements.- The Geritol Bunch: The Development of the Shuttle, History of Challenger's Design, and Her First Mission.- Ride, Sally Ride: The Flight of STS 7.- Weightlifters: the Flight of STS 8.- A Heck of a Big Leap: the Flights of STS 41B, 41C, and 41G.- The Untouchables: the Flights of STS 51B, 51F, and 61A.- Don't Break our Airplane: the Disaster and Aftermath, including Rogers inquiry.- Appendix: Challenger's Planned Missions during 1986 and 1987.- Glossary of Acronyms.- Bibliography.- Index.
Ben Evans was born in October 1976 in Solihull and attended the University of Birmingham, from where he gained a degree in Ancient History and Archaeology and later a teaching qualification. He has written extensively for SPACEFLIGHT, COUNTDOWN and ASTRONOMY NOW magazines since 1992 and has previously had two books published by Praxis. These were NASA'S VOYAGER MISSIONS (2003) and, most recently, SPACE SHUTTLE COLUMBIA (2005). He researched and wrote both books whilst training and working as a history and English secondary school teacher. He is not a professional scientist, but merely a space enthusiast with an interest in writing.
From the reviews: "Space writer Evans details the ten missions of the space shuttle Challenger, including its last tragic flight. ! He covers both the problems and the successes throughout the ten missions. This book is very readable and a good survey of the shuttle program in the 1980s ! and thus would be suitable for the nontechnical student interested in the shuttle program. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates." (D. B. Mason, CHOICE, Vol. 45 (2), 2007)