on 3 October 2011
This "owner's manual" (!!) describes the design of the shuttle, how it is constructed and how it works in operation. There are copious good quality photographs showing various stages of construction, and also plenty of diagrams that add factual detail. The accompanying text is well written, not at all dry, and adds to the enjoyment of the book.
The author has managed to navigate a sensible middle path between the two extremes of overwhelming the reader with technical detail or, on the contrary, just providing a sequence of pretty pictures - I'd say he has got the balance about right. You don't have to be an engineer or a technical expert to understand this book, although you will find it easier going if you know a little bit about space-flight and rocketry. (And even if you don't you will by the time you've finished reading it.)
He also is clearly writing from personal experience combined with a good technical knowledge of the Shuttle and its operations, so this is not a hagiography. He is not afraid to criticise the technical and commercial shortcomings of the Shuttle's design, or NASA's failure to react to the clear warning signs that preceded the losses of Challenger and Columbia.
In short an excellent manual that not only does what it says on the cover, but also goes well beyond this. I would recommend it highly.
on 20 May 2011
This Haynes owners' workshop manual for the now venerable shuttle fleet is an excellent addition to their special interest series, which also includes Apollo eleven. The manual includes the history and rationale for shuttle development. The shuttles are described in terms of their self contained structural elements. The writing is lucid,articulate and does not stray into arcane jargon. The accompanying photographs and diagrams are excellent. Do yourself a big favour and get hold of it!
This is a welcome addition to any space enthusiasts library.
on 22 May 2013
Gazing down on the Earth, it seems almost incredible to me now that just 5 months ago my wife presented me with this book for Christmas and told me to sod off and do something useful with my life for a change.
A short trip to B&Q later and I was hard at work. The first obstacle is of course the size of the space shuttle. In the end I had to clear almost everything out of the garage so I had enough space to get to those hard-to-reach units. The flux capacitor was a pain in the ar*e as well, but after watching the Back to the Future trilogy a good 8 times, it made a lot more sense.
After a good 2 weeks of banging away for at least half-an-hour a day, she was finished. I must concede that it was trickier than I thought to get hold of original NASA spare parts; one scrapyard guy even threw something heavy and wedge-shaped at my special area when I asked him where he kept the used space shuttle engines!
In the end I settled for 3 1.3-litre, 4-cylinder engines from 1973 Austin Allegros, and the seats from a '79 Ford Capri (still with those beads for your back!)
Launch date finally came, and I waited patiently for the skies to clear as I didn't want to accidentally bang into an Easyjet coming into Luton and lose a wing mirror or something.
Anyhoo, my kids shouted from the garden that everything looked good, I turned the key, and whoosh! the air blowers came on. I turned them down, turned the key again and whoosh! Within hours I was at close to 37mph at a heady 4 feet above the lush Cornish countryside.
How I actually got into space is actually a bit of a mystery. I remember dosing off after a while, so maybe the flux capacitor kicked in and did its job!
So, in conclusion:
Excellent value for money
Difficult to get required parts
White paintwork is a bit boring
Book is quite heavy
No phasers or warp drive
Hope this helps
on 4 September 2012
As a bit of space nut I bought this with some expectations and to a degree I was a little, but only a little, disappointed. If you have one of these in your shed and you need to know how to change the tyre, sparkplug or a windscreen wiper blade then this book is not for you as its not a super indepth analysis of the shuttle and how it works. But having said that it is interesting and you do learn some stuff you haven't known before. The book starts by going through the history of the shuttle design and all the options considered before going into flight testing, construction, flight and then areas about the environmental control systems, fuel cells etc, so it is informative. A lot of the pictures and line drawings I have seen before, but some I had not.
Not a warts and all Shuttle book but still very informative none the less. Entertaining bedtime reading.
on 16 June 2014
This provides a good leap between the overlap between the Apollo programme, the time of the Shuttle, and what is now being developed. Yet another great technological product to suit a big purpose. The number of excellent shuttle simulators available now is testament to the longevity of the idea of there Shuttle. (For Haynes) Are you going to do any manuals for the Russian space programme who were competing with the USA?