"An excellent portrait of Mission Control, the teams, and the later missions. This should be required reading for anyone aspiring to be part of human space flight, as well as all scientists, engineers, project managers of any kind, and anyone considering a career in a highly complex field or program."
—Gene Kranz, Former Flight Director, NASA, and author Failure Is Not an Option
"Paul Dye pulls back the curtain on what it takes to be a Flight Controller, then a Flight Director in Mission Control. Like him, I've been both. Shuttle, Houston should not only entertain the casual, interested reader, but it should be invaluable to anyone aspiring to work in the 'Center Seat' whether that's in Mission Control or any other business or leadership position."—Milt Heflin, NASA 1966-2013, Retired, Johnson Space Center Chief Flight Director, 2001-2004, and coauthor of Go, Flight!
"I learned many of these lessons from Paul Dye as he taught me and two decades more of Mission Control leaders the ropes, in exactly these words! His guidance is as valuable today in any leadership setting as it always was."—Paul Sean Hill, Retired NASA Flight Director and Director of Mission Operations, and author of Leadership from the Mission Control Room to the Boardroom
"Shuttle, Houston gives us tremendous insight on the Mission Control Center. Paul Dye captures the awe and amazement of being part of that team. His wonderful explanations of how everyone works together and his understanding of the science and history will fascinate anyone who appreciates the dynamic world of human space exploration."
—Shannon Lucid, former Astronaut
"Richly detailed with the author’s own experiences and recollections, Shuttle, Houston covers virtually every aspect of Mission Control. By the time you finish reading this book, you will feel like you just participated in an actual space mission….A very interesting read."—National Space Society
"Terrific...a fascinating history of how America built and operated the most complex machine ever devised by man....Anyone who is interested in flying generally, the history of flight, or managing massive technical projects, will enjoy this read."—Kitplanes
"Government or commercial, capsule or shuttle, crewed spaceflight require the support of a mission control to ensure a safe mission. Wherever that mission control may be located and however it looks, it requires the same rigor and attention to detail described in Dye's book to ensure success."
—The Space Review
"With a clear voice from the onset, Dye deftly crafts the story of his many years working on the Shuttle program around the broader story of NASA at that time.... We are afforded a glimpse of the inner workings of NASA, a rare treat...the book is somehow referential and personal, thanks to the author's excellent writing skills. Packed with fascinating anecdotes from each mission...for anyone with even a passing interest in human spaceflight, this is a must-read.”—BBC Sky at Night Magazine
"Space history enthusiasts will relish this."—AudioFile
"A passionate look at the U.S. space shuttle program....The author fondly recalls in scrupulous detail the highlights of his three-decade career as a top NASA flight controller... both engaging and informative....The author's simple anecdotes about everyday working life at mission control that make for the most readable, entertaining sections....Dye's memoir is a balanced mix of moments both banal and breathtaking."
"A fascinating insight into the inner workings of NASA."—Booklist
"Dye provides an insider view of historic events....This motivating book shows people succeeding at their best: smart, cooperative, innovative, and caring."—Library Journal
With NASA and SpaceX making history in May 2020 with the first flight into orbit from American soil in a commercially built and operated American crew spacecraft, the United States has entered a new era in Space Exploration. As the U.S. embraces commercial enterprises running critical components of its space program, Dye, NASA's longest-serving flight director, assesses the successes and failures of previous missions, and reflects on the future of space exploration. Dye provides an insider view of historic events like the Columbia and the Challenger explosions as well as the United States collaborating with Russia to create an international space program. The book is filled with personal stories and recollections from several of the 39 missions that Dye has been involved in, and he continues to discuss how scientists can begin to train future leaders and inspire teams. Embedded throughout the book are lessons about the importance of hearing everyone's voice, quality assurance, and scenario planning. VERDICT Spaceflight is an inherently risky business, and Dye sheds insight into how NASA has used culture, technology, and training to mitigate this risk. This motivating book shows people succeeding at their best: smart, cooperative, innovative, and caring.—Beth Dalton, Littleton, CO
A passionate look at the U.S. space shuttle program through the life’s work of the longest-serving flight director in NASA’s history.
As with many of his peers in the space and aeronautical industries, Dye’s occupational choice was inspired by SF literature and the romantic longing to live out such cosmic possibilities in real life. The author was among the earthbound heroes at NASA flight control who helped guide space shuttles through all aspects of a mission. A former scuba instructor who studied aeronautical engineering at the University of Minnesota, the author fondly recalls in scrupulous detail the highlights of his three-decade career as a top NASA flight controller. He combines folksy anecdotes (he uses the term “folks” a lot) with esoteric mechanical details to convey how these technologically remarkable yet fragile, temperamental shuttles worked—or sometimes didn’t. Although Dye’s impressive recall of every aspect of his job history is largely both engaging and informative, he is overly indulgent with the aeronautical shoptalk, severely testing general readers’ tolerance for acronyms (a common pitfall that both space and military memoirs share). On the whole, it’s the author’s simple anecdotes about everyday working life at mission control that make for the most readable, entertaining sections. For instance, Dye’s recounting of the 1990s Shuttle-Mir program, a famously cooperative gesture between Russia and the U.S., is an insider’s look at how two countries’ very different work philosophies merged to successfully complete an unprecedented mission. We also read about the unforgettable time employee negligence led to the spontaneous combustion of the office coffee maker, creating widespread panic among the caffeine-addicted mission control employees. Most insightful are Dye’s reflections on the 1986 Challenger disaster and the problematic mission control culture that led to this infamously televised catastrophe.
Dye’s memoir is a balanced mix of moments both banal and breathtaking.