Into the Black

Into the Black

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On 12th April 1981 a revolutionary new spacecraft blasted off from Florida on her maiden flight. NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia was the most advanced flying machine ever built - the high watermark of post-war aviation development. A direct descendant of the record-breaking X-planes the likes of which Chuck Yeager had tested in the skies over the Mojave Desert, Columbia was a winged rocket plane, the size of an airliner, capable of flying to space and back before being made ready to fly again. She was the world's first real spaceship. On board were men with the Right Stuff. The Shuttle's Commander, moonwalker John Young, was already a veteran of five space flights. Alongside him, Pilot Bob Crippen was making his first, but Crip, taken in by the space agency after the cancellation of a top secret military space station programme in 1969, had worked on the Shuttle's development for a decade. Never before had a crew been so well prepared for their mission. Yet less than an hour after Young and Crippen's spectacular departure from the Cape it was clear that all was not well. Tiles designed to protect Columbia from the blowtorch burn of re-entry were missing from the heatshield. If the damage to their ship was too great the astronauts would be unable to return safely to earth. But neither they nor mission control possessed any way of knowing. Instead, NASA turned to the National Reconnaissance Office, a spy agency hidden deep inside the Pentagon whose very existence was classified. To help, the NRO would attempt something that had never been done before. Success would require skill, pinpoint timing and luck...Drawing on brand new interviews with astronauts and engineers, archive material and newly declassified documents, Rowlbest-sellingbestselling author of Vulcan 607, has pieced together the dramatic untold story of the mission for the first time. Into the Black is a thrilling race against time; a gripping high stakes cold-war story, and a celebration of a beyond the state-of-the-art machine that, hailed as one of the seven new wonders of the world, rekindled our pspace flightspaceflight. It comes with a foreword by Dick Truly.

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  • Hardback | 364 pages
  • 156 x 240 x 35mm | 567g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • LondonUnited Kingdom
  • English
  • 0593064364
  • 9780593064368

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"Beautifully researched and written, Into The Black tells the true, complete story of the Space Shuttle better than it's ever been told before." -- Col. Chris Hadfield, astronaut, Space Station commander, author of You Are Here and An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth "A drama of flight and raw human courage, with the lustre of myth. Into the Black is a brilliant concept, brilliantly executed. You'll feel like you made the flight yourself. Strap in." -- Stephen Baxter, author of Voyage and Titan "A work of great importance - knitting together separate strands of what has so far been a hidden story worth the telling but largely ignored. I am impressed by the thoroughness of scholarship and the crafting of an important piece of research into a highly readable narrative. Illuminates a complex piece of space history left in the shadows until now. Readable and impossible to put down" -- Dr David Baker (Editor, Spaceflight) "Rowland White's account of Columbia's inaugural flight in 1981, and all the preparations that led up to it, could not be a more timely reminder of what it takes to design, launch and fly a complex manned space vehicle. White's research is thorough, his writing style is superb, and he has a gripping and fresh story to tell. This is a genuine "must-have" book for anyone fascinated by the sharp end of space flight" -- Piers Bizony, author of Starman, The Space Shuttle, and The Making of Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' "Into the Black is a revealing and hugely entertaining insight into the early days of the Space Shuttle and the incredible men and women who ensured she flew. The intimate portraits of the men and the machine combine with a roller-coaster ride of adventure and suspense to provide a truly remarkable book" -- John Nichol, author of After the Flood and co-author of Tornado Down

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About Rowland White

Rowland White is the author of three bestselling books of military history: Vulcan 607; Phoenix Squadron; Storm Front. He lives in Cambridgeshire with his wife and three children.

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