The Art of the Space Shuttle tells the story of NASA’s amazing Space Shuttle program and its 140 space flights (135 missions, plus five Approach and Landing Tests) in a uniquely designed and covetable way. The Space Shuttle program’s first free flight test was taken on August 12, 1977. Its first official mission was launched on April 12, 1981. Its final mission and flight was taken on July 8, 2011. The program’s six orbiter vehicles are Enterprise, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour.
Each mission has its own fascinating story, and The Art of the Space Shuttle retells these stories, in chronological order, through incredible photos taken by NASA photojournalists, fine art photographers, and the astronauts themselves. Each image is accompanied by a short text that includes quick facts such as crew members, launch date, and landing date, as well as a short overview of highlights and purpose. For example, STS-78’s mission was to study circadian rhythms in space; STS-41G’s mission was to take photographs in-flight, seen in the IMAX movie The Dream Is Alive; and famously, the first untethered space walk, taken by astronaut Bruce McCandless on STS-41B using a self-propelled backpack unit (called a Man Maneuvering Unit [MMU]), allowed astronauts to capture satellites for retrieval and repair and for the planned construction of what became the International Space Station (ISS). Prior to this mission, astronauts were attached to the shuttle with safety lines. The photo of McCandless floating above Earth’s surface is one of the most celebrated and famous space photographs ever. These are just a few of the 140 stories Miller tells in this beautiful volume.