Author Topic: Space Shuttle: Developing an Icon 1972-2013 by Dennis Jenkins  (Read 17064 times)

Offline ZANL188

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The 3 volume Dennis Jenkins shuttle book is due in February.  Available at the Specialty Press web site.

Offline mtakala24

The 3 volume Dennis Jenkins shuttle book is due in February.  Available at the Specialty Press web site.

Thanks for the update! Would have pre-ordered, but shipping would have been 120 dollars... Hoping for Amazon listing.

Offline rdale

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Thanks for the update! Would have pre-ordered, but shipping would have been 120 dollars... Hoping for Amazon listing.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1580072496

Offline mtakala24

Yep, found that already but was on my phone. Shipping was expensive there too, but Amazon.de gave me free shipping to Finland!

I'm going to split this to a separate thread (or another mod will), as this truly is a milestone release and the previous editions have been so highly regarded. (edit: And thats done!)

Limited Edition signed copy from Specialty Press:
http://www.specialtypress.com/space-shuttle-developing-an-icon-1972-2013-limited-signed-edition.html

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1580072496/
Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1580072496/
Amazon.de: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1580072496/
« Last Edit: 12/24/2016 08:19 AM by mtakala24 »

Offline Star One

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Thanks for the UK link. £138 over here with free shipping.

Offline ZANL188

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Thanks for the thread split!

I'm really looking forward to this book... Not many books (or other products for that matter) that I'd wait over a decade for.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Wow, fantastic to see this will be published soon (and just before my birthday too ... :D).

IIRC his 3rd edition STS history was less than 600 pages, so "1,584 pages filled with over 1 million words and nearly 4,000 photos and line drawings" is quite an increase! No question this will be the definitive shuttle book.

Offline mtakala24

Wow, fantastic to see this will be published soon (and just before my birthday too ... :D).

It will arrive around a month after my birthday, so I don't need to think of anything else for me this year. I tried to get a previous edition in 2003-2004 timeframe when I didn't have credit card and Amazon, Ebay and Paypal pretty much weren't an option. Finally being able to pre-order this book kind of made my Christmas too.

Offline mtakala24

Very nice additional details about the book on Collectspace:

http://www.collectspace.com/ubb/Forum9/HTML/002996.html

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Love this snippet about the development of the various editions. Bold is my emphasis.

Quote
Here is what Dennis writes in his preface to "Developing an Icon":
Quote
When I wrote the mini-edition of what became this book in 1988, the response was overwhelmingly positive, leading me to write the first of the expanded hardcover editions. By the time I finished in 1991, however, Aerofax was largely out of business and other publishers said there would never be a market for more than 500 copies of a book on space shuttle; all declined to publish it. Believing there was a story to be told, I published the book myself. Roger D. Launius, then chief historian at NASA, took notice and coached me on how to make the book more authoritative; the improvement was evident in later editions. By late 2016, more than 100,000 copies of three editions had passed.
This is more than an update to the previous edition; it is a complete rewrite and will obviously be the last.
« Last Edit: 01/13/2017 07:00 AM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline Thorny

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Any further word on this book? I pre-ordered it from Amazon, which at the time said publication would be February 15, 2017. Now it says "shipping in one to two months".

Offline rdale

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Nothing seems to have changed on the book's homepage. Says coming in February 2017 (still have half a month left :) )

Offline gwiz

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Amazon UK lists my copy arrival date as 10-13 March.

Offline clevelas

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Any further word on this book? I pre-ordered it from Amazon, which at the time said publication would be February 15, 2017. Now it says "shipping in one to two months".

Per the CollectSpace link a few comments back, it sounds like Speciality Press won't get them until around the 20th, then shipping after that.  How that affects Amazon orders, I have no idea.

Offline DMeader

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Will there be a Kindle edition?

Kidding! Kidding!

 I've been waiting for the final edition of the Jenkins book for a long time. Just found the listing on Amazon for this and placed my order straight away.

Offline rdale

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Amazon is far more expensive than direct.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Amazon is far more expensive than direct.

Not if you live outside of the US! Amazon UK are charging a reasonable (UK) postage cost whereas Speciality Press charge a similar price to the book for shipping.

Offline penguin44

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Any further word on this book? I pre-ordered it from Amazon, which at the time said publication would be February 15, 2017. Now it says "shipping in one to two months".
Got an email from them saying it's delayed. Expect delivery between March 9th and may 22nd. Wow.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Amazon UK now lists publication date as Feb 24 and I've just received an email saying my order is due Mar 20 (it was previously Mar 10, so a day for day slip based on revised publication date). The email says the date change is due to a change in release date from the supplier, so I hope it's accurate!

Offline rdale

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Per the author the books are here in the US and being sent from the warehouse this weekend.

Offline mtakala24

Just got an email from Amazon DE of a provisional delivery date between March 10th and 14th.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Just noticed that Amazon UK have dropped their price by nearly 30%, about £40 reduction  :D

So if you're in a different country you may want to check too. Hopefully a further sign that release is happening, as I think Amazon tends to revisit pricing at/around release.

Offline mtakala24

12% discount on Amazon DE too. Not enough to risk cancelling, re-ordering and then waiting longer.....

Online MATTBLAK

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I had the pleasure of meeting Dennis Jenkins at the California Science Center in August 2015 - he was working with the staff there on Endeavour. I only got to say a brief hello to him and tell him how much I admired his work. He seemed surprised that a man from New Zealand would recognize and know who he was! :)
"Those who can't, Blog".   'Space Cadets' of the World - Let us UNITE!! (crickets chirping)

Offline Star One

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Just noticed that Amazon UK have dropped their price by nearly 30%, about £40 reduction  :D

So if you're in a different country you may want to check too. Hopefully a further sign that release is happening, as I think Amazon tends to revisit pricing at/around release.

And now out of stock, but still lets you order it with no delivery date available.
« Last Edit: 02/26/2017 08:35 AM by Star One »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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The out of stock indication appears to be automatic once the release date Amazon has is reached, if there's no stock yet received. It hasn't yet been in stock!

I don't know about Germany, but at least in the US and UK Amazon has a price promise that if the price drops between your order and an item being released then you are only charged the cheaper price when it is shipped to you. So I don't need to cancel my UK order and re-order to get the cheaper price. I hope Amazon has this policy elsewhere?
« Last Edit: 02/26/2017 08:52 AM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline Star One

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The out of stock indication appears to be automatic once the release date Amazon has is reached, if there's no stock yet received. It hasn't yet been in stock!

I don't know about Germany, but at least in the US and UK Amazon has a price promise that if the price drops between your order and an item being released then you are only charged the cheaper price when it is shipped to you. So I don't need to cancel my UK order and re-order to get the cheaper price. I hope Amazon has this policy elsewhere?

What's a little odd is it had a release date of mid-March in the U.K. I thought, but now that appears to have gone.
« Last Edit: 02/26/2017 11:52 AM by Star One »

Offline hopalong

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The out of stock indication appears to be automatic once the release date Amazon has is reached, if there's no stock yet received. It hasn't yet been in stock!

I don't know about Germany, but at least in the US and UK Amazon has a price promise that if the price drops between your order and an item being released then you are only charged the cheaper price when it is shipped to you. So I don't need to cancel my UK order and re-order to get the cheaper price. I hope Amazon has this policy elsewhere?

What's a little odd is it had a release date of mid-March in the U.K. I thought, but now that appears to have gone.

I saw that as well, maybe they have already pre-sold the initial number of copies they ordered from the publishers (which would have arrived in the UK mid March if shipped via sea, I can't see Amazon shipping these by air).
I have just ordered my copy from Amazon UK - Delivery date pending.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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The Speciality Press web page now lists availability as: 'In stock' :)

http://www.specialtypress.com/space-shuttle-developing-an-icon-1972-2013.html

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Collectspace has a nice article on the book with quotes from the author:

http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-030717a-space-shuttle-icon-jenkins.html

According to comments in the forum section of the website it appears all Speciality Press pre-orders should have shipped now.
« Last Edit: 03/08/2017 06:38 AM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline bkellysky

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The set arrived yesterday.
I was out last night, so I didn't open the plastic wrap yet.

Offline rdale

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Amazon dropped the price by $50 and shipping remains free for those who didn't pre-order...

Offline Star One

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My Amazon UK order still says delivery date pending.

Offline HighlandRay

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Same here, no sign of shipping from Amazon UK
To old to die young

Offline bkellysky

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Hi, I had to work today, so I haven't had more than a quick run-through of the book, which arrived last night. It was well packed and the plastic wrap was tight and dry, despite the box being left in a light rain.

It is three hard-bound volumes, in a solid cardboard slipcase. The pages are solidly in place. I was careful opening the books at first, but no creaking or crackling of the binding.  When opened to any page, it's sound and sturdy, as it should be since it's a reference which will be pulled off the shelf and leafed through again and again to find some fact or photo. It's beautiful enough to leave open on your coffee table on a random page while you are studying the makings of a shuttle and the history and decisions that led to parts and plans that make up shuttle missions.

What little I've read is highly technical, but accessible and engaging. It's not just a technical treatise, but a story - many stories! I can imagine starting to read some evening and not knowing were the time went. 

The entire table of contents is at the beginning of each volume and a complete index at the end of each, very useful when looking for a related piece of information that may be outside the volume you are reading.
 
The type is tiny, but I can read it easily, even with my multi-focus glasses. The photos are magnificent. Color is splendid.

In a book with no fold-out pages (none I've seen yet), how do you put the instrument panels in a 8-inch (ish) wide page?
When you get the book, check the main instrument panel diagram. I still haven't found the smallest detail, even with a (poor) magnifying glass and using my nearsightedness to get close to the page. At that point, I can resolve almost all the print on the instrument labels but there may be details still to be seen on increased magnification. Go get a large, good magnifier, perhaps a glass that lies on the page. I'm just happy all that detail appears to be there, finer detail than I've ever seen in a book. 

Each mission gets a text page with a photo page across from it. I don't know if the details everyone wants to see are there, and what the careful, knowledgeable reader will find (or not), but these pages are surrounded by sections on major events and shuttle technology and, of course, the accidents, the why and wherefores and the recovery of the program.

Volume one is spent on the history and engineering that led the shuttle and looks like a history of winged spaceflight.
 
I wish I could really review this book, but it will be a while!

Offline Oersted

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Thanks for the write-up, bekellysky! - I'm very tempted to get it... But the temptation, I must say, is tempered by realising that the two last volumes are more reference work than readable history. What is your take on that?
« Last Edit: 03/09/2017 10:51 AM by Oersted »

Offline bkellysky

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Thanks for the write-up, bekellysky! - I'm very tempted to get it... But the temptation, I must say, is tempered by realising that the two last volumes are more reference work than readable history. What is your take on that?
So far, it's a reference work, but in narrative form. Not dry facts, as much as that would have been tempting for the author. Maybe they'll put a sample page from each volume on the web site, so people can see for themselves. (I haven't checked.)

bob

Offline Star One

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Thanks for the write-up, bekellysky! - I'm very tempted to get it... But the temptation, I must say, is tempered by realising that the two last volumes are more reference work than readable history. What is your take on that?
So far, it's a reference work, but in narrative form. Not dry facts, as much as that would have been tempting for the author. Maybe they'll put a sample page from each volume on the web site, so people can see for themselves. (I haven't checked.)

bob

Thanks as I am looking for more a narrative than reference. I am hoping especially for details on the DOD side of things with the Shuttle.

Offline eric z

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 I just got an email from US Amazon, the book has shipped and the price went down from approx.
$170 to $102 ! Go Blue Origin! Can't wait to check it out. 8)
« Last Edit: 03/09/2017 03:06 PM by eric z »

Offline HighlandRay

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My order is with Amazon UK and is still waiting for a release date, but hopefully now that Amazon US have it we won't be far behind. The price is currently £96.
To old to die young

Offline bkellysky

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Re: DOD.  There is an interesting section on the building of vanderburg calif site. Photo of enterprise on a real ext tank and dummy SRBs on the slc6pad, construction and difficilities explained. Section on air force MOL. I won't get back to it until the weekend at the soonest.

Offline Star One

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Re: DOD.  There is an interesting section on the building of vanderburg calif site. Photo of enterprise on a real ext tank and dummy SRBs on the slc6pad, construction and difficilities explained. Section on air force MOL. I won't get back to it until the weekend at the soonest.

Thanks for that feedback.

Offline Rocket Science

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Just ordered it as it was the last one and on sale for $118.59 plus S&H... I never stood a chance... ;D
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Offline eric z

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 Just got it! Thank the stars it was shrink-wrapped because it was left out in the cold drizzle! I should have been working out with weights-it's heavy. I'm gonna ask my wife for another copy, so I can put one in the time-capsule with me. ;)

Offline ZANL188

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Specialty Press charged my card 9 Mar.  Shipped yesterday afternoon via UPS for delivery on 14 Mar.

I've waited 10 years... I can wait a few more days...

Offline DaveJ576

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I just received my set today! Dennis Jenkins just did everyone a favor as he made your library smaller. Once you have this set you can donate to the public library every other book you have on the space shuttle. This set is quite simply the most comprehensive publication on this subject I have ever seen. It is fantastic and makes everything else on the market looks like a five year old's coloring book!  ;)

My only nitpick is an echo of someone else's post, in that the type face is rather small and at times hard to read, especially the photo captions. I am going to invest in a nice magnifier and that should do the trick. Mr. Jenkins has crammed so much info into these volumes that I think he was left with little choice but to make things smaller. If not this would have easily been a five volume set.

I would caution that this is not for the casual reader. You have to be a real tech/spaceflight nut to fully appreciate this work. If you fall into that category, this set is pure nirvana.
"We have a pitch and a roll program and man this baby is really going!"

Offline Marsin2010

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I have just been notified by Amazon that my advance order of Dennis Jenkins monumental
Space Shuttle: Developing an Icon 1972-2013 is shipping.  They have lowered the price from the pre-release $150 to approximately $120 so it is a little less painful but those who have his prior shuttle histories will agree that this 3 volume set will be worth every penny.

It has just arrived.  No one bother me for the next month or so.
« Last Edit: 03/13/2017 06:23 PM by Marsin2010 »

Offline mtakala24

Got an email from Amazon DE - the estimated shipping date is April 11th - May 12th. I guess they are really shipping them over the sea, and that takes time.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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It has just arrived.  No one bother me for the next month or so.

Great to see Amazon US deliveries are arriving, but curious their website still says '5 to 6 weeks' (unless they have sold out all their initial allocation?!).

Amazon UK having said for weeks that my order would be shipped this Friday (17th), is now saying they need more time to give a good estimate and they'll email me when they know ... Still should at least be on their way over the pond by now.

Offline Star One

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It has just arrived.  No one bother me for the next month or so.

Great to see Amazon US deliveries are arriving, but curious their website still says '5 to 6 weeks' (unless they have sold out all their initial allocation?!).

Amazon UK having said for weeks that my order would be shipped this Friday (17th), is now saying they need more time to give a good estimate and they'll email me when they know ... Still should at least be on their way over the pond by now.

Mine is still just saying delivery date pending.

Offline HighlandRay

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Same here, waiting for Amazon UK to give me a delivery date. Hopefully they will get enough copies to fulfill all of there orders.
To old to die young

Offline Oersted

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Great to hear that they have problems fulfilling the orders. Must mean that sales are good!

Offline HighlandRay

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Yes, but as long as they have enough for us all
To old to die young

Offline ZANL188

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Mine arrived today! Looks awesome so far! Thanks Dennis, well worth the wait!

Offline clevelas

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Got mine a couple of days ago.  Got to spend about 30 minutes reading last night.  Made it through the forward and introduction.  At this pace, it'll be at least a 10 year project to get through (that's not a bad thing).  I can't believe how packed with information it is.  If he'd used normal font and image sizes, the set would have shipped on a pallet!

I'm really impressed with the quality of the books.  And packaging was excellent.

Offline Thorny

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Got mine yesterday. To say this three-volume set is a wealth of information would be to greatly understate things. It is the previous three editions on steroids. Maybe overdosing on steroids! It will take me weeks, at least, to go through it all. A must-have for any serious space enthusiast.

Offline Oersted

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Ordered. 155Ä at Amazon.de, shipping for free.

Offline Zero-G

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Just one question for those who have received it already: Is there a chapter about Buran as well?
I have the three previous editions and the russian efforts are mentioned in the first and second edition, but not in the third. I have read some time ago, that Jenkins planned to include a chapter about russian efforts in the final edition again and even expand it a bit.

I have placed my order back in mid-January on Amazon.de, but it seems like german amazon is lagging far behind other countries: I received an e-mail the other day, that delivery will be in April/May. Well, it's not a problem, as long as I will get one eventually. Gives me time to catch up reading some other books, I have lying around. ;)
"I still don't understand who I am: the first human or the last dog in space." - Yuri Gagarin

Offline dccraven

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I'm still working my way through Volume I, learning about the early developments that fed the final design of the space shuttle. A quick review of the 21 chapters and the index did not find a specific chapter concerning the Soviet Buran shuttle. I noted about 9 references to the Buran in the index, but no significant number of pages concerning it. My initial examination of the three volumes found an interesting reference to the difference in the layout of the thermal protection system tiles on the STS versus the Buran that resulted in some structural damage from the re-entry heat on the Buran's only flight.
So far I am overwhelmed with the detail and the stories...a lot of information to comprehend!

Offline Ronpur50

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Mine was delivered today, but i am at work until 9 PM!!

Offline Ronpur50

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And it is amazing!!!

Offline Oersted

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Ronpur, we need a bit more of a review than that...  :-)

Offline shuttlelegs

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No. Amazing pretty much says it all. It arrived today 4 days early here in sunny , very hot central Queensland Australia.

Offline Ronpur50

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Ronpur, we need a bit more of a review than that...  :-)

I haven't had time to do much more than thumb through it.  My cat died this morning, he had been ill.  So, we spent the day dealing with that. 

But, I am looking forward to studying it more.

But, yes, amazing sums it up pretty darn well!! 

EDIT: Well, after going through volume 1, I have been so overwhelmed by the by the amounts of charts and drawings.  There are so many concepts of the shuttle that I had never seen before.  And I have just been looking at the pictures so far.
« Last Edit: 03/16/2017 11:05 PM by Ronpur50 »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Really pleased to see all the positive feedback about the book.

Amazon US now says:

Quote
In stock on March 28, 2017.

Makes me think they sold out of their initial order and are getting more soon? Unfortunately no update on Amazon UK yet.

Offline psloss

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Too long; must read if one is a Shuttle nerd/geek.  It's going to take weeks and months to digest, but full of details.

I'm not sure if it answers all the questions in the Q&A threads here, but it's probably as good as it gets for us outsiders.  I stopped on the ET tumble valve in the technical description volume because I remember that being asked about here -- there's a nice extra level to the "answer."  (At least for me.)

(Oh yeah, and there's lots of rare pictures, diagrams from interface control documents...)

Offline mtakala24

Email from Amazon DE says that my copy will be here by Wednesday, 29 March!

Offline Ronpur50

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I have been reading volume 3 first, right now going over the process to get STS-1 up.  It is very interesting, some things I knew, but many I did not know.  Or at least knew in passing.  This is an amazing history.  It reminds me of David Baker's huge History of Manned Space Flight, so full of so many details.  I am happy to have this set.

Offline DMeader

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Got mine today. I simply do not have the words to do it justice. Thank you, Mr. Jenkins.

Offline penguin44

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What a hefty set of great books. I think these weigh about the same as the stack itself. Great read thus far

Offline HighlandRay

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Still waiting for Amazon UK to give a release date.
To old to die young

Offline mtakala24

My copy (from Amazon DE) shipped from the UK (Tamworth) warehouse.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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My copy (from Amazon DE) shipped from the UK (Tamworth) warehouse.

Typical! I have no UK delivery date either, but I just noticed that the UK price has increased by about £19 ! If you already have it on order you'll be ok - my order price hasn't changed. So don't cancel your order - we'll have to be patient I guess.

Offline gwiz

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My Amazon UK copy arrived today and on first thumb-through it certainly lives up to expectations.

Offline Blanik

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Well, mine shipped 8th of March with Fedex, spent the better part of two weeks in a warehouse because of Customs issues and missing buyer contact info. After sorting this out a delivery attempt was made - attempt, because I personally have to accept and sign for the delivery and of course during Fedex' working hours I am off to work. Now I rerouted the shipment to my company - in case this works (Reception calls me, I'm free to go and get it - no meetings, link calls etc.), I may receive it by tomorrow or the day after.
Almost stopped looking forward to...

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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My Amazon UK copy arrived today and on first thumb-through it certainly lives up to expectations.

Good to see Amazon UK have shipped at least one copy! But still no info from them on when I might receive mine :(

Do you mind if I ask when you placed you order? I ordered mine on 11 Feb

Offline Blanik

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Actually ordered it on 25th of December 2016. Invoice date is 28th of February 2017.

Offline mtakala24

My Amazon DE order arrived today (from the UK warehouse). I placed my order on 24th of December 2016.

Edit: Clearly they are shipping by the order dates...
« Last Edit: 03/27/2017 12:52 PM by mtakala24 »

Offline mtakala24

Sorry for spamming, but...

Its very substantial indeed. Some minor print quality issues, but I won't be bothered with them.

This is going to take a year to read through. Lets hope Chris won't acquire as he would disappear into a black hole and stop writing articles. :D

Congratulations to Rob Pearlman for getting into a list with a number of great names.

Offline mme

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:)
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline HighlandRay

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Still waiting for a release date from Amazon UK, I do hope that they can fill their orders. I am so looking forward to this book.
To old to die young

Offline Rocket Science

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Just got mine from a March 10th order, pretty quick! 8) When I picked-up the box from the ground I was surprised by the weight. I opened the box half expecting to find a a shuttle component inside by it's heft... ;D
« Last Edit: 03/28/2017 09:07 PM by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

Offline Arch Admiral

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So, I finally read through this book to the end. (yes, I'm a speed-reader and no, I don't have a 9-to-5 job). I have the two earlier editions and some of the less relevant material in them has been omitted to fit within the 3-volume limit.

But there is a vast amount of additional material, not just about the later missions but much about the historical background. Did you know that:

- the X-20/Dyna-Soar pilot would have been issued an AR-15 rifle for disabling Soviet satellites
- many eminent experts such as Bob Truax and Wernher von Braun were secret shuttle skeptics
- Klaus Heiss of the infamous "Mathematica Study" was so confident in the results that he formed a company to build an extra Orbiter with private capital and lease it to NASA
- the management at Rocketdyne became convinced that the staged-combustion cycle of the SSME was unworkable and tried to get Marshall to switch to a gas-generator design with lower pressures (similar to those in the final Block II SSME)

(Historical nitpick: Jenkins repeats the standard fiction spread by the promoters of the doomed X-38 project that PRIME/X-23A and X-24A had the same configuration and proved its stability at all Mach numbers -- the photos in the book show that the two vehicles were very different.)

For a guy who worked on the program most of his professional life, Jenkins is surprisingly objective about the Shuttle's design weaknesses and the engineering and management failures that led to the two losses and several groundings. He uses some very harsh words about the promised flight rates and reveals internal studies that showed these to be nonsense. Since this isn't a political history he doesn't explore why NASA HQ continued to promise 24 flights per year up to 1986.

Of course the roles of USAF, NRO, and NSA in Shuttle are still concealed by secrecy but there is a good sense of why the space intelligence community first embraced and then rejected shuttle.

Much of volume 3 is devoted to summaries of each mission. Even the most obscure flights of Shuttle's boring middle years get at least 2 pages. The major accidents and groundings have comprehensive coverage. All the proposed upgrades are discussed along with the confusing succession of Shuttle-C and Shuttle-Z proposals. There is a whole chapter devoted to the Vandenburg SLC-6 fiasco. Upper stages and the lack of same get a good treatment, except there is still no technical reason given for the cancellation of Centaur-G and Centaur-G'.

Finally there is a comprehensive discussion of the dismemberment of the surviving Orbiters for the Constellation program, and the installation of fake components for museum display (something future generations will surely regret).

A section on costs shows that each Shuttle mission cost exactly $1.642B in FY2012 dollars, not counting NASA Center support and civil service salaries. Allowing 25-30% extra for these costs brings the per-mission cost up over $2B.


Offline gosnold

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He uses some very harsh words about the promised flight rates and reveals internal studies that showed these to be nonsense. Since this isn't a political history he doesn't explore why NASA HQ continued to promise 24 flights per year up to 1986.

Of course the roles of USAF, NRO, and NSA in Shuttle are still concealed by secrecy but there is a good sense of why the space intelligence community first embraced and then rejected shuttle.

When did those studies start, and when were they completed?

Offline Blackstar

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Of course the roles of USAF, NRO, and NSA in Shuttle are still concealed by secrecy but there is a good sense of why the space intelligence community first embraced and then rejected shuttle.

NSA was not really involved in shuttle--it was USAF and NRO.

I now have a significant set of documents on NRO and the shuttle. Not on operational missions (all still classified), but policy planning in the 1970s. For instance, in 1973 NRO was assuming the per-launch cost for shuttle was $10.5 million (that number came from NASA). This is all newly declassified stuff, in the past few weeks. So more of that story will be told in the coming months and years.
« Last Edit: 03/29/2017 09:43 PM by Blackstar »

Offline Archibald

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An AR-15 gun ? really ? (trying to figure an EVA astronaut with an AR-15 aiming at a soviet satellite)

Klaus Heiss created Spacetran in the late 70's to privately fund that fifth orbiter cancelled by the Carter administration.  It didn't went well.


Offline Rocket Science

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So, I finally read through this book to the end. (yes, I'm a speed-reader and no, I don't have a 9-to-5 job). I have the two earlier editions and some of the less relevant material in them has been omitted to fit within the 3-volume limit.

But there is a vast amount of additional material, not just about the later missions but much about the historical background. Did you know that:

- the X-20/Dyna-Soar pilot would have been issued an AR-15 rifle for disabling Soviet satellites
- many eminent experts such as Bob Truax and Wernher von Braun were secret shuttle skeptics
- Klaus Heiss of the infamous "Mathematica Study" was so confident in the results that he formed a company to build an extra Orbiter with private capital and lease it to NASA
- the management at Rocketdyne became convinced that the staged-combustion cycle of the SSME was unworkable and tried to get Marshall to switch to a gas-generator design with lower pressures (similar to those in the final Block II SSME)

(Historical nitpick: Jenkins repeats the standard fiction spread by the promoters of the doomed X-38 project that PRIME/X-23A and X-24A had the same configuration and proved its stability at all Mach numbers -- the photos in the book show that the two vehicles were very different.)

For a guy who worked on the program most of his professional life, Jenkins is surprisingly objective about the Shuttle's design weaknesses and the engineering and management failures that led to the two losses and several groundings. He uses some very harsh words about the promised flight rates and reveals internal studies that showed these to be nonsense. Since this isn't a political history he doesn't explore why NASA HQ continued to promise 24 flights per year up to 1986.

Of course the roles of USAF, NRO, and NSA in Shuttle are still concealed by secrecy but there is a good sense of why the space intelligence community first embraced and then rejected shuttle.

Much of volume 3 is devoted to summaries of each mission. Even the most obscure flights of Shuttle's boring middle years get at least 2 pages. The major accidents and groundings have comprehensive coverage. All the proposed upgrades are discussed along with the confusing succession of Shuttle-C and Shuttle-Z proposals. There is a whole chapter devoted to the Vandenburg SLC-6 fiasco. Upper stages and the lack of same get a good treatment, except there is still no technical reason given for the cancellation of Centaur-G and Centaur-G'.

Finally there is a comprehensive discussion of the dismemberment of the surviving Orbiters for the Constellation program, and the installation of fake components for museum display (something future generations will surely regret).

A section on costs shows that each Shuttle mission cost exactly $1.642B in FY2012 dollars, not counting NASA Center support and civil service salaries. Allowing 25-30% extra for these costs brings the per-mission cost up over $2B.
The X-23/PRIME were indeed similar to the X-38, which was the high Mach entry configuration. The X-24A was the low Mach subsonic to landing configuration with the modification to the upper body flap area and the addition of a vertical stabilizer. The X-23/PRIME/X-38 would have all had control surface blanking at high apha and thus all used parachute recovery for that reason and the X-38 went further by using a steerable parafoil...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

Offline Rocket Science

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An AR-15 gun ? really ? (trying to figure an EVA astronaut with an AR-15 aiming at a soviet satellite)

Klaus Heiss created Spacetran in the late 70's to privately fund that fifth orbiter cancelled by the Carter administration.  It didn't went well.
The X-20 pilot was to open the overhead hatch, stand up and fire IIRC. This is a great book if you are interested
https://www.amazon.com/Dyna-Soar-Hypersonic-Strategic-Weapons-System/dp/1896522955
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

Offline Archibald

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The dynaSoar book is very high on my wish list :)

Offline Star One

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My copy has now been dispatched by Amazon UK.

Offline HighlandRay

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Still waiting
To old to die young

Offline hopalong

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My copy has now been dispatched by Amazon UK.

Likewise, arriving tomorrow (ordered on 26/02/17)

Offline Star One

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My copy has now been dispatched by Amazon UK.

Likewise, arriving tomorrow (ordered on 26/02/17)

Received it yesterday complete with sticker on the outside warning of a heavy package.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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My copy has now been dispatched by Amazon UK.

Likewise, arriving tomorrow (ordered on 26/02/17)

I just called Amazon as I ordered mine on 11/02/17 and I've still heard nothing  >:(

They can't explain why other orders have been fulfilled, but are looking into it and will get back to me ... hopefully that'll have the desired effect!

Offline Star One

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My copy has now been dispatched by Amazon UK.

Likewise, arriving tomorrow (ordered on 26/02/17)

I just called Amazon as I ordered mine on 11/02/17 and I've still heard nothing  >:(

They can't explain why other orders have been fulfilled, but are looking into it and will get back to me ... hopefully that'll have the desired effect!

That's weird did they indicate it was just yours or were there other similar unfulfilled orders?

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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That's weird did they indicate it was just yours or were there other similar unfulfilled orders?

They didn't say. However, I had previously changed the shipping option on my order, so I suspect that confused something in the system.

Anyway, I've now had an email saying my order has been dispatched!  :D

So if anyone thinks their order is overdue, I suggest chasing it.

Offline Star One

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That's weird did they indicate it was just yours or were there other similar unfulfilled orders?

They didn't say. However, I had previously changed the shipping option on my order, so I suspect that confused something in the system.

Anyway, I've now had an email saying my order has been dispatched!  :D

So if anyone thinks their order is overdue, I suggest chasing it.

That's good to hear.

Offline HighlandRay

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At last my copy is on its way from Amazon UK. Can't wait to get stuck into this treasure trove.
To old to die young

Offline HighlandRay

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Got it, wow. Looking forward to cracking it open.
To old to die young

Offline DaveS

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So I'm getting my copy in a week-a-half (ordered it back in March), I thought I would inquire about the amount of detail spent on the Shuttle/Centaur project, compared to earlier editions.
"For Sardines, space is no problem!"
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"We're rolling in the wrong direction but for the right reasons"
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Offline Oersted

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Unboxing gallery! (Orange for scale...)

Looks amazing. The typeface is not too small, it is eminently readable. Typography is compact, which I like. More info!

Last three pics are typical spreads from each of the three volumes.


Offline HighlandRay

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Just finished reading the first book and I have enjoyed every detailed page. The authors love for the Space Shuttle shines through every page. I can't wait to continue the story in books 2 & 3.
To old to die young

Offline Star One

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In his recent article in Spaceflight magazine about the book he makes particular mention of the fact that he didnít get very far with his FOIA requests to both NASA & the Air Force as regards the classified missions.

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