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Development of the Space Shuttle, 1972-1981 (History of the Space Shuttle, Volume 2) Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Series: History of the Space Shuttle (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Smithsonian (May 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1588340090
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588340092
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.7 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,120,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“When future generations review the history of the twentieth century, they may well judge humanity's movement beyond the Earth, with both machines and people, as one of the most significant steps of the age. . . . A central part of this effort is the history of the Space Shuttle, which has now been flying for twenty years. The story of developing this unique vehicle is ably told by T. A. Heppenheimer. . . . This [volume] will be a major addition to the historical literature on the Space Shuttle and provide the foundation for significant follow-on research by other scholars.”—Roger D. Launius, Chief Historian, NASA

About the Author

T. A. Heppenheimer is the author of seven books including The Space Shuttle Decision, 1965-1972: History of the Space Shuttle, Volume 1 (Smithsonian Books, 2002) and Countdown: A History of the Space Program (1995). He is a freelance writer and has written cover stories for many magazines, including American Heritage, Popular Science, and Science Digest.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Launius VINE VOICE on December 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
At a fundamental level, this book is a basic history of the development of the Space Shuttle between the point of approval in 1972 and first flight in 1981. But it is also the story of how a creature of compromise designed by various political entities in Washington each with their own priorities and prerogatives, came to fruition. The story of developing this unique vehicle is ably told in Heppenheimer's book and should be a topic of both considerable significance and public interest in the post-"Columbia" accident era as this nation's political leaders make decisions about how to proceed--or perhaps not to proceed--with human spaceflight in the twenty-first century.
Heppenheimer does not argue an overarching thesis in this work; instead he provides a very helpful synthesis of the development of the shuttle. As such, this book should appeal to a general rather than a strictly engineering audience. Specifically, this work is akin to earlier works on Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo and as such should become something of a basic reference in the history of American space flight efforts.
I should also say something about the nature of the historiography concerning the Space Shuttle, and the place of this book in it. There are no satisfactory general histories of the Space Shuttle program. By far, the best work to appear on the technical history of the Space Shuttle is by Dennis R. Jenkins. But that is a narrowly technical history that pays virtually no attention to the political, economic, and managerial aspects of the development effort. It also does not pretend to be a history in the sense that Jenkins uses primary documents and seeks to draw connections to larger issues.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have the same problem with this volume that I had with Volume 1 ... there is very little new information presented in it that was not covered better in Dennis Jenkins' "Space Shuttle" and it is not nearly as well illustrated. There is also the issue of having to purchase two volumes of the Heppenheimer work - it is all in a single volume in Jenkins' tome. I assume that the Smithsonian will eventually issue a Volume 3 that will cover the last third of the Jenkins history - the actual missions flown by shuttle.
Like Volume 1, there is a little new information, and the text is probably a little more readable but also less tehnical. Again, Heppenheimer reaches a few different conclusions than Jenkins, but from other sources I have read Jenkins was usually closer to correct.
If you already own Volume 1 and/or Jenkins, or just want every available piece of information on the Space Shuttle, then this volume makes a good companion piece. Otherwise, there are better ways to spend your money.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a historian of the space program this book was perfect for me. It is very detailed with minutiae about the engineering and political issues that took place during the development of the Space Transportation System. This book is not light reading as most will bog down learning about how the sausage is made. But if you are interested in how we segued from the Apollo Program to the Shuttle Program this book is for you.
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By Ken Glastetter on December 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm an aero engineer, so I found the technical details excellent. The view points of the budgets, politics, and interplay with world events were also great. The debates and decisions in the early 70's of what to do after Apollo are very similar to our national debates in 2011 about NLS, Constellation, etc. Highly recommend.
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