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Author Topic:   Final Countdown: NASA and the End of the Space Shuttle Program

Posts: 6210
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 06-15-2007 09:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Final Countdown: NASA and the End of the Space Shuttle Program
by Pat Duggins
"Pat Duggins knows of what he writes. Final Countdown is a solid read." --Jay Barbree, NBC's veteran space correspondent and author of the New York Times bestseller Moon Shot

The Space Shuttle was once the cornerstone of the U.S. space program. However, each new flight brings us one step closer to the retirement of the shuttle in 2010. Final Countdown is the riveting history of NASA's Space Shuttle program, its missions, and its impending demise. It also examines the plans and early development of the space agency's next major effort: the Orion Crew Exploration Capsule.

Journalist Pat Duggins, National Public Radio's resident "space expert," chronicles the planning stages of the shuttle program in the early 1970s, the thrills of the first flight in 1981, construction of the International Space Station in the 1990s, and the decision in the early 2000s to shut it down.

As a rookie reporter visiting the Kennedy Space Center hangar to view the Challenger wreckage, Duggins was in a unique position to offer a poignant eyewitness account of NASA's first shuttle disaster. In Final Countdown, he recounts the agency's struggle to rebound after the Challenger and Columbia tragedies, and explores how politics, scientific entrepreneurship, and the human drive for exploration have impacted the program in sometimes unexpected ways.

Duggins has covered eighty-six shuttle missions, and his twenty-year working relationship with NASA has given him unprecedented access to personnel. Many spoke openly and frankly with him, including veteran astronaut John Young, who discusses the travails to get the shuttle program off the ground. Young's crewmate, astronaut Bob Crippen, reveals the frustration and loss he felt when his first opportunity to go into space on the first planned space station was taken away.

As the shuttle program winds down, more astronauts may face similar disappointments. Final Countdown is a story of lost dreams, new hopes, and the ongoing conquest of space.

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida; 1 edition (October 21, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 081303146X


Posts: 655
From: Norfolk, VA
Registered: May 2007

posted 02-21-2008 01:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anyone read this yet? Is it worth a read?


Posts: 103
From: Huntsville, AL USA
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 02-21-2008 04:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rocketJoe   Click Here to Email rocketJoe     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Found a signed copy at the Udvar-Hazy center and finished it a few days ago. I thought it provided a pretty good high-level history of the shuttle program. Being that it touched on the entire history, it was impossible to go into much detail on any one mission.

I would moderately recommend.


Posts: 2331
From: Sturgeon Bay, WI
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 02-22-2008 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read it. Pretty good book, but as mentioned above, it didn't go too deep into things.

It was a pretty good summary of the shuttle program, but for the most part I don't think it was really anything new that most of us here don't already know.



Posts: 318
From: Kiel, Germany
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 02-22-2008 12:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for contra   Click Here to Email contra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi, same opinion on my side: good book, but nothing new, you can look at it as a nice summary.



Posts: 1966
From: Atlanta, GA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 02-22-2008 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I did not find this book informative or entertaining. The author is strongly biased against the Shuttle program. I don't mind reading criticism, but this is supposed to be a book on the end of the program, not an overview of the program's purpose. This bias comes through strongly on almost every page and is annoying. The author states over and over that the Shuttle had/has no real mission and that becomes tiring fast.

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