Humanity's first reusable spacecraft and the most complex machine ever built, NASA's space shuttle debuted with great promise and as a dependable source of wonder and national pride. But with the Challenger catastrophe in 1986, the whole space shuttle program came into question, as did NASA itself, so long an institution that was seemingly above reproach.
Wheels Stop tells the stirring story of how, after the Challenger disaster, the space shuttle not only recovered but went on to perform its greatest missions. From the Return to Flight mission of STS-26 in 1988 to the last shuttle mission ever on STS-135 in 2011, Wheels Stop takes listeners behind the scenes as the shuttle's crews begin to mend Cold War tensions with the former Soviet Union, conduct vital research, deploy satellites, repair the Hubble Space Telescope, and assist in constructing the International Space Station. It also tells the heart-wrenching story of the Columbia tragedy and the loss of the magnificent STS-107 crew.
As complex as the shuttle was, the people it carried into orbit were often more so - and this is their story, too. Close encounters with astronauts, flight controllers, and shuttle workers capture the human side of the space shuttle's amazing journey - and invite listeners along for the ride.
The book is published by University of Nebraska Press.
©2013 Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska (P)2015 Redwood Audiobooks
"With the Space Shuttle program now at an end, documenting the amazing thirty-year career of these iconic orbiters holds an untold amount of historical importance. Spaceflight isn't easy, people pay in blood and sweat to make it happen. Rick Houston lends a voice to some of the key people involved in what is not only an American treasure but a global superstar." (Chris Bergin, NASASpaceflight.com)
"Enthusiastic portrayal of the heroic age of American space travel." (Publishers Weekly)
Just terrible narrator.
The way he reads is just so off putting with some weird and irritating inflection in his voice. I cannot believe that an audio book recording studio would let him even pass an audition, let alone go on to record the entire book.
Put me off completely after about 1 hour and I stopped the book. Just can't bear it. Completely distracted me from the content.
"Finished it in three days!"
Yes, Yes and Yes! This is an incredible book. The book is almost 18 hrs long and I couldn't stop listening! I have always been fascinated by the Space Shuttle program so, on the advice of my favorite Amazon reviewer, "Dad of Divas," I got the hardcover. Problem is I never had time to get past the intro so I was delighted to see that it came out in audio. I could not improve on "Dad's" review so I have posted part of it below. I agree heartily with every word. Wonderful book!
Non fiction so no real characters although he did do a nice French accent for the French Astronaut.....and...I am going to quote an Amazon review below but, obviously he read it not heard it so...I liked this reader. I thought he was good. HOWEVER...Use common sense and listen to the sample before you get it. I have never heard this guy before but I have read reviews of narrators that I thought were good who were trashed be some listeners. ( always a minority ) Why? I'm not sure except that narrator styles seem to be very much a personal thing so...Do the sensible thing and listen to the sample first. I will never understand why people don't take a few minutes to do this and than write nasty reviews about the narrators. Use common sense! You wouldn't buy a car without taking a test drive, right?
Too many to mention.
Here is some of "Dad of Divas" review of the book which convinced me to get the print version and now the audio. This guy is a "Top 500" reviewer and I have never regretted getting anything that he liked."This was a great book filled with stories, some that I was aware of, but so many that were new to me. As someone who grew up with the highs and lows of the space shuttle, I loved reading this and appreciated all of the intricate details that were included in this book. There was so much that I was unaware of and this book shares it with the reader. You not only gain a better understanding of the technical side of things in regards to space travel and the shuttle, but you also get to know the people through the interviews and so much more that the author shares. On each page you are transported further and further into the book and even though at first the book may seem long, you will find yourself flying through this and compelled to read even more (or at least I was).I highly recommend this to all, as it offers rich description and detail as well as unprecedented access to insider interviews and research that I have never come across before in a book on this topic before!"
"Fascinating behind the scenes look"
The interviews and quotes from the actual astronauts and mission control people.
Can't think of anything like this.
Yes. I like him but, as another reviewer said...tastes vary...so do the smart thing and listen to the sample first.
Cried a bit at the details of the two disasters...one going up and one coming down. Very sad.
A really fascinating behind the scenes look at some of our bravest and smartest people. The machine was incredible...and so were they!
The behind the scenes detail..the author actually met and talked to many of the astronauts and people in mission control.
Too many too count.
Did a nice job.
Excellent book. It was long but I couldn't stop listening and was sad when it was over.
I'll probably listen again in a few months.
"Not technical...just fantastic!"
Yes...felt like the author and the people he interviewed were talking to me.
Just too many to list.
Did a good job. Nice voice and nice pacing and I would never have had time to sit down and read a book this long. Got through it in less than a week during my daily commute.
They Were Heroes
This is not a technical book. It tells the stories of the Space Shuttle program in stories and first person interviews. The interviewees' honest stories make it easy to imagine what it was like being there. This book also describes the EVA experience in a lot of detail. What an experience that must have been!
"Really good book"
Yes...a huge part of American history in great detail.
Can't think of any.
The scenes about what the Astronauts did after the program ended...like Jerry Ross climbing Mt. Everest!
Wheels Stop...without all the dates.
Really enjoyed this book. Fascinating stuff and the reader did a good job which only added to the experience.
"Great behind the scenes look"
Fascinating, Heroes, Proud
All of the astronauts.
Have heard many of his books...one of my favorite narrators ...however...not everyone feels that way so...Listen to the sample to be sure.
WHEELS STOP: GREATNESS ACHIEVED
Loved the many interviews and anecdotes that you would not get just from watching TV or reading a straight history.
"Kept My Interest"
One of the most interesting.
Really can't pick just one. All of the astronauts were amazing, smart and brave people!
The French astronaut..He did a credible French accent for him.
Yes...laughed a number of times at the first person anecdotes. Cried at the details of the two the exploded.
Normally bios and histories tend to lose my interest after a while. Not this time. I think it was because the author sprinkled it with so many of the astronauts actual works and stories.
Th unique and detailed stories that I have never heard before
Nothing that I have read. This was all new to me and I loved it!
A unique story-telling experience
The discussions of the issues with Challenger definitely stood out in my mind
Great book overall!
"Best of the series...so far"
No...once is enough.
I've read a number of this"History of Spaceflight" series. "Wheels Stop," like all of them is
very good, as are all the books in the series. And as far as I know, it's the only one
in audiobook form, which was a big plus for me. I was able to get through it on my
daily commute to work.
No....took about a week of commuting as well as a few around town errands on the weekends. In fact, I found myself looking for excuses to drive just so I could listen to it.!
Wheels Stop has a fast-paced, highly readable style, in which the author presents a fascinating collection of oral-history-type anecdotes based on his extensive interviews with astronauts, program managers, technicians, administrators and ground-support engineers who were involved in those flights, all organized within a relatively loose structure of program and flight events.
The personal approach made this even better than some of the "drier" in the series and the reader was very good, which certainly helped.
"Hard to stop listening"
The personal touch. Lots of stories and background from the people involved. Things you never saw on the news when it was happening.
I found the whole thing fascinating.
Stuff I never knew...like what some of the astronauts did after they retired was very interesting.
Yes...the two tragedies.
Reader did a very good job.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.