This book tells the story of the Space Shuttle in its many different roles as orbital launch platform, orbital workshop, and science and technology laboratory. It focuses on the technology designed and developed to support the missions of the Space Shuttle program. Each mission is examined, from both the technical and managerial viewpoints. Although outwardly identical, the capabilities of the orbiters in the late years of the program were quite different from those in 1981.
Sivolella traces the various improvements and modifications made to the shuttle over the years as part of each mission story. Technically accurate but with a pleasing narrative style and simple explanations of complex engineering concepts, the book provides details of many lesser known concepts, some developed but never flown, and commemorates the ingenuity of NASA and its partners in making each Space Shuttle mission push the boundaries of what we can accomplish in space.
Using press kits, original papers, newspaper and magazine articles, memoirs and interviews, this book provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive account available of the shuttle's many missions and will refocus interest on a remarkable flying machine and space program that is often pushed to the background.