Announcing the publication of Space Shuttle Legacy: How We Did It and What We Learned (American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, October 2013). It is available here. The book includes these chapters:
- Defining the Shuttle: The Spaceplane Tradition, Roger D. Launius
- Designing the Shuttle: Living within the Political System, Roger D. Launius
- Managing the Space Shuttle: Leadership, Change, and Big Technology, W. Henry Lambright
- Engineering the Engine: The Space Shuttle Main Engine, Robert E. Biggs
- Protecting the Body: The Orbiter’s Thermal Protection System, Dennis R. Jenkins
- Revolutionizing Electronics: Software and the Challenge of Flight Control, Nancy K. Leveson
- Flying the Shuttle: Operations from Preparation through Flight to Recovery, N. Wayne Hale
- Using the Shuttle: Operations on Orbit, Matthew H. Hersch
- Losing the Shuttle (or Nearly): Accidents and Anomalies, Stephen P. Waring
- Constructing a Port in Orbit: The Space Shuttle and Building the Space Station, Howard E. McCurdy
- A Victory for Clean Interfaces: Europe’s Participation in the Space Shuttle Program, John Krige
- Living and Working on the Shuttle: The Challenge of Routine, Amy E. Foster
- Wowing the Public: The Shuttle as a Cultural Icon, Linda E. Billings
- Retiring the Space Shuttle: What Next? John M. Logsdon
This book originated almost with the July 2011 completion of the 135th and final successful mission of the Space Shuttle program. On many occasions during the Space Shuttle’s 30-year career, it had demonstrated remarkable capabilities, but the cost and complexity of flying this first-ever reusable space transportation system always ensured controversy and difference of opinion. NASA moved to retire the shuttle before the vehicle’s 30th anniversary because of its age and cost of operations and because the space agency planned a new mission to move beyond Earth orbit and return to the Moon.
After 30 years of Space Shuttle operations—40 years, if one includes the research and development period of the 1970s—what is the legacy of the Space Shuttle? That is the question we seek to answer in this work, Space Shuttle Legacy: How We Did It and What We Learned, which focuses on the history of the Space Shuttle specifically by delving deeply into various aspects of the program’s evolution over its long duration.
Accordingly, Vigor Yang, chair of the School of Aerospace Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and James I. Craig, emeritus professor in the School, who has a special interest in the place of the Space Shuttle in the development of space technology envisioned a collection of essays that would assess the place of the shuttle in American history. With administrative support and funding from NASA, the Boeing Company, and Georgia Tech, they hosted a symposium, “The Space Shuttle: An Engineering Milestone,” in 2011, to recognize the technological accomplishments of the many individuals involved in the program and to involve aerospace engineering students in the commemoration. The symposium offered a beginning point for assessing the legacy of the Space Shuttle over its more than 30-year career, and a variety of contributors engaged in first-rate proceedings that focused on the technical lessons learned from the program.
Yang and Craig followed this up in 2012 by recruiting the historians Roger D. Launius and John Krige to design, and along with Craig to edit, a book to undertake a broader evaluation of the program. The writers published in this book were chosen for both their broad knowledge and their disciplines; they include historians, political scientists, public administrators, engineers, and scientists. All intend to highlight lessons learned in the Space Shuttle program, with the objective of informing NASA officials, national executives, the aerospace community, and the broader public.
I hope you enjoy the book and find it useful. Please check it out here.