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Space Shuttle Decision, 1965-1972 (History of the Space Shuttle, Volume 1) Paperback – May 17, 2002
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The book covers the difficulties NASA had in trying to figure out what to do after Apollo, when public and financial support for the space program was waning. The Vietnam war, a faltering economy, the election of Richard Nixon, the decline of the Soviet space program, and a new focus on earthbound problems all made NASA's grand plans for manned Mars missions, space stations, and moon bases financially out of reach. The days of Apollo-era blank-check budgeting for NASA had actually ended in 1966.
Eventually focusing on reducing the cost of getting payloads into space--with grander plans deferred to the future--the Shuttle program went through many possible configurations. For the technically inclined, some of the discarded shuttle concepts are fascinating. And the amount of technology that had already been developed for other programs was a surprise to me. But as important as the technical issues were, the process of getting a budget through the White House and a hostile Congress were just as difficult. The result of this meeting of technology and budget is the Shuttle that flys today.
Rather than focusing only on the final Shuttle design, the author takes us through various technology stories that defined the environment in which the Shuttle was being contemplated.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good history of the political and technical saga/drama surrounding the shuttle!!!!Published 3 months ago by Wilfred A. Roberge
Excellent review of the technical trades blended with the economic and political forces on NASA as they worked to get the space shuttle program approved and funded.Published on July 11, 2011 by Ken Glastetter
Heppenheimer's book is a history of the planning, designing, budgeting and politics in the years leading up to the development of the space shuttle. Read morePublished on February 22, 2011 by Wikileaker