NASA Space Shuttle Owners’ Workshop Manual

Published on
May 16, 2011
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Dr. David Baker
Other Publication Information
Hardcover, 160 Pages, 200 color & 50 b/w photos, 8.5 x 10.875, Published: April 18th 2011
Product / Stock #
Company: Zenith Press - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Zenith Press - Website: Visit Site

Possibly one of the world’s most recognizable flying machines, the NASA Space Shuttle was the first reusable piloted spacecraft, and to this day remains unrivaled in versatility and success in that role. Having its genesis in waning years of the Apollo Program, the Shuttle evolved throughout the early 70’s, dodging the lethal pens of budget-cutters, and matured into what now is the icon of American manned spaceflight. Now, 30 years after the maiden flight, the program draws to a close in 2011.

Dr. Baker skillfully and intimately captures the history and underlying technology of the Shuttle program and its family of 6 craft in this beautiful 196-page hard-backed edition. The volume is well-written by a man with first-hand experience in the program, and packed with over 250 photos and technical illustrations – a modeler’s dream!

Seven chapters walk the reader through all aspects of the Shuttle’s origins, early flights, orbiter design, propulsion system, piloting, daily on-board life, and re-entry. An author’s postscript lends the reader Dr. Baker’s personal perspective from his years associated with the program. Three appendices chronicle flights by orbiter, key terms, and useful contacts.

My impression of the book right out of the envelope was one of giddy excitement. My 5 year-old introduced us to this “Owners Workshop Manual” series from Zenith when he brought home the Star Trek USS Enterprise volume from the library several weeks ago. When given the chance to review the Shuttle volume, I jumped at the chance – and was not disappointed!

True to form and my expectations, the layout, pictures, drawings, and color of this book just took my breath away. From a modeler’s perspective, the variety, volume, clarity, and detail of the photos is truly worth the price of the book…and then some! You name it, it’s here. The exterior of the orbiter, the boosters, external tank, launch pad, and crawler are well-documented. Flight deck, middeck, cargo bay, and some payloads are also amply documented in full color for those wanting to do some serious scratch-building. Factory floor photos showing orbiters, boosters, tanks, and engines under construction are also a goldmine for those of us suffering from advanced modelers’ syndrome (AMS).

For those who actually like to read the printed words between all of the great pictures, there’s tremendous narrative of the Shuttle’s lineage and history, tons of technical summaries and specs, theories of design and operation, and the like. That’s topped off with further insight into actual operation of the craft and of life aboard during missions. Finally, for those of us liking nice, neat, concise lists and tables; appendices summarizing the missions; key terms, and contacts round out the package.

Cliff’s Notes Version: This volume is definitely a “must have” for anybody interested in the Shuttle program or seriously building a model of one of these legendary machines. Outstanding!

My sincere thanks to John Wurm at Zenith and to IPMS/USA for providing this review sample!


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