xii, 356 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 24 cm
On February 1, 2003, Columbia disintegrated on reentry before the nation's eyes, and all seven astronauts aboard were lost. Author Mike Leinbach, Launch Director of the space shuttle program at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center was a key leader in the search and recovery effort as NASA, FEMA, the FBI, the US Forest Service, and dozens more federal, state, and local agencies combed rural east Texas for every piece of the shuttle they could find. Assisted by hundreds of volunteers, it would become the largest ground search operation in US history. Leinbach shares the deeply personal stories that emerged as NASA employees looked for lost colleagues and searchers overcame immense physical, logistical, and emotional challenges to bring home the remains of the crew and nearly 40 percent of shuttle, an effort that was instrumental in piecing together what happened so the shuttle program could return to flight and complete the International Space Station.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 297-335) and index.
Foreword by Robert Crippen -- Silence and shock -- Good things come to people who wait -- The foam strike -- Landing day -- Recovery day 1 -- Assessing the situation -- Searching for the crew -- Columbia is going home in a coffin -- Walkers, divers, and spotters -- Their mission became our mission -- Reconstructing Columbia -- Healing and closure -- Preserving and learning from Columbia -- The beginning of the end -- Celebrating 25,000 heroes -- Epilogue by Eileen Collins.
9781628728514 (hardcover : alk. paper)
1628728515 (hardcover : alk. paper)