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As the pilots prepared for the landing, Columbia's flight deck took on the air of a little cave, Benacerraf thought, a cave glowing with the light of the crew's fluorescent glareshields, and of -Earth. Despite promises of upgrades, this wasn't like a modern airliner, with its "glass" cockpit of computer displays. The battleship-gray walls were encrusted'-with switches and instruments that shone, white and yellow with internal light, though the surfaces in which they were embedded were battered and scuffed with age. There was even an eight-ball attitude indicator, right in front of Tom Lamb; like something out of World War Two; and he hadcontrols the Wright brothers would have recognized: pedals at his feet, a joystick between his legs.
There was a constant, high-pitched whir, of, environment control pumps and fans.
Lamb, sitting in Columbia's left-hand commander's seat, punched the deorbit coast mode program into the keyboard to his right. Benacerraf, sitting behind the pilots in the Flight Engineer's jump seat, followed his keystrokes. OPS 301 PRO Right. Now he began to check the burn target parameters.
Bill Angel, Columbia's pilot, was sitting on the right-hand side of the flight deck. "I hate snapping switches," he said. "Here we are in a new millennium and we still have to snap switches." He grinned, a little tightly. It was his first flight, and now he was coming up to his first landing. And, she thought, it showed.
Lamb smiled, without turning his head. "Give me a break," he said evenly "I'm still tying to get used to fly by wire."
"Still missing that old prop wash, huh, Tom?"
Amid the bull, the two of them began to prepare the OMSorbital maneuvering engines for their deorbit thrusting. Lamb and Angel worked through their checklist competently and calmly: Lamb with his dark, almost Italian looks, flecked now with gray, and Angel the classic WASP military type, with a round, blond head, shaven at the neck, eyes as blue as windows.
Benacerraf was kitted out for the landing, in her altitude protection suit with its oxygen equipment, parachutes, life-raft and survival equipment. She was strapped to her seat, a frame of metal and canvas. Her helmet visor was closed.
She had felt safe on orbit, cocooned by the Shuttle's humming systems and whirring fans. Even the energies of launch had become a remote memory. But now it was time to come home. Now, rocket engines had to burn to knock Columbia out of orbit, and then the orbiter would become a simple glider, shedding its huge orbital energy in a fall through the atmosphere thousands of miles long, relying on its power units to work its aerosurfaces.
They would get one try only. Columbia had no fuel for a second attempt.
Benacerraf folded her hands in her lap, and watched the pilots, following her own copy of the checklist, boredom competing with apprehension. It was, she thought, like going over the lip of the world's biggest roller-coaster.
On the morning of I Columbia's landing at Edwards, Jake Hadamard flew into LAX.
An Agency limousine was waiting for him, and he was driven out through the rectangular-grid suburbs of LA, across the San Gabriel Mountains, and into the Mojave. His driver—a college, kid from UCLA. earning her way through an aeronautics degree seemed excited to have NASA's Administrator in the back of her car, and she wanted to talk, find out how he felt about the landing today, the latest Station delays, the future of humans in space.
Hadamard was able to shut her down within a few minutes, and get on with the paperwork in his briefcase.
He was fifty-two. And he, knew that with his brushed-backsilver-blond hair, his high forehead and his cold blue eyes-augmented by the steel-rimmed spectacles he favoured—hecould look chilling, a whiplash-thin power from the inner circles of government. Which was how he thought of himself.
The paperwork—contained in a softscreen which heunfolded over his knees-was all about next year's budget. submission for the Agency. What else? Hadamard had beenAdministrator for three years now, and every one of thoseyears, almost all his energy had been devoted to preparing thebudget submission: trying to coax some kind of reasonable dataand projections out of the temperamental assholes who ranNASA's centers, then forcing it through the White House, andthrough its submission to Congress, and all the complex negotiations that followed, before the final cuts were agreed.
And that was always the nature of it, of course: cuts.
Hadarnard understood that.
Jake Hadamard, NASA Administrator, wasn't any kind of engineer, or aerospace nut. He'd risen to the board. of a multinational, supplier of commodity staples-basic foodstuffs, bathroom paper, soap and shampoo. High-volume, low differentiation; you made your profit by driving down costs, and keeping your prices the lowest in the marketplace. Hadamard had achieved just, that by a process of ruthless vertical integration and horizontal acquisition.He hadn't made himself popular with the unions and the, welfare groups. But he sure was popular with the shareholders.
After that he'd taken on Microsoft, after that company had fallen on. hard times, and Bill Gates was finally deposed and sent. off to dream. his Disneyland dreams. By cost-cutting, rationalization and excising a lot of Gates's dumber, more expensive fantasies—and by, ruthlessly using Microsoft's widespread presence to exclude the competition, so smartly and subtly that the antitrust suits never had a chance to keep up Hadarnard had taken Microsoft back to massive profit within a couple of years.
Posted June 10, 2011
4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 2, 2012
Baxter writes about Nasa as if he were an insider!! He does complete research and presents what could be story killing technical data in the framework of his novels, as entertaining, page turning excitement.
This Ebook does suffer from a bad porting, constant typos, but I didn't let that bother me, loved the story!
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 13, 2013
I am looking to purchase this e book for my Nook First Edition, 1-12-13.
Have they fixed the typo's in the e-book yet?
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 5, 2011
Posted June 17, 2011
The first book in the series, Voyage, is one of my favorite SF books. That in mind I got Titan. What a train wreck. The writing is two-dimensional at best, the ending contrived an ridiculous - resurrected after how many billion years??? The plot had some promised but just disintegrated under its own preposterousness. I don't mind the science speculation, but an X-15 pilot still in the service as a Major, when by average age he would be well over 60 at the time of the novel? Get a grip! Add to that that while he insists on having US main characters Baxter's command of North American dialect is severely limited - Americans dropping UK idioms everywhere - and the whole thing is just unreadable. What a disappointment.
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 24, 2015
Forget the content. This book in ePub format gives the impression of having been scanned by a first generation scanner with no error correction. I'm tired of mistakes like: "Hut Sagan's talk" instead of But Sagan's talk, "Hadamard was no space butt" instead of Hadamard was no space buff; "It the big one had ever come" instead of If the big one had ever come.
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Posted March 5, 2013
I love reading Stephen Baxters books. That said I could not finish this one due to all the errors in the book. I personally fell like I got ripped off when I bought it. I asked for my money back, but received NO response from BN. DO NOT PURCHASEWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 29, 2012
I would like my money back A weak plot was absolutely ruined by typos The other books in the series held my interest This one might have, but I quit reading at the 3/4 point Have never seen something so unprofessional from a major publishing company or B&NWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 8, 2012
The Story is a great read. By all means by the book. However, the ebook is filled with so many typographical errors it slows the pace of the book and is unacceptable. You are paying $8 for words on a "page". There is a level of expectation that the words should at least be spelled correctly. Imagine buying a printed book with as many typos as this ebook . You would be quite upset I am sure. So do yourself a favor and pass over this ebook. Buy the paperback version and enjoy the great story.
I give the story a 3 1/2 but the ebook I give a -2.5.
Do the math, buy the paperback instead.
Major failure for those of us who like to read on our Nook
Posted July 13, 2011
The story is a good sci-fi read, though frustrating. Whoever transcribe the paper pages to e-book format did a lousy job. There are 2 to 4, or more typos or misspellings on EVERY page. Several times I couldn't even figure out what a paragraph was about because of so many errors. The word "if", for example, was spelled "it" every time. And that was the least of it. Before a book is released in e-book format, it should be proof-read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.