The shuttle era is ending and when things end people have the tendency to look back and reflect on the trials and tribulations of that period. There are many news books that are being produced that seek to capitalize on this nostalgia – and a few old ones, are being re-released with current and updated information within. One of the more notable efforts is NASA SPACE SHUTTLE Owner’s Workshop Manual.
With modern imagery and text reflective of the program’s long history, the book encapsulates all of the accomplishments that the vehicle’s design allowed to become a reality. The book uses very current information, so much so that it mentions the shooting of U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords which took place this past January.
The book provides for a succinct review of the program’s history, its contributions, the setbacks of the Challenger and Columbia disasters as well as other aspects both known and unforeseen of the vehicle’s overall design. Although the book is relatively short, it covers the rationale behind why the space shuttle was designed the way that it was, how the spacecraft launches, flies and lands as well as numerous other facets that comprised the space shuttles’ history.
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I hope this isn’t quite like the Haynes workshop manuals all too familiar to those of us who have had to maintain decrepit European cars! There used to be a running joke that no matter how complex the job that needed to be tackled, the Haynes directions would run like this:
Step 1) Remove defective component and disassemble.
Step 2) Clean and examine parts, renewing as necessary.
Step 3) Reassembly is the reverse of Step 1.