‘Shuttle, Houston’ by former NASA Flight Director Paul Dye

Though he’s been retired since 2013, Paul Dye still holds the title as the longest-serving Flight Director in NASA’s history, with thirty-nine missions — nine of them as lead Flight Director — under his belt.

As such, his new book, Shuttle, Houston: My Life in the Center Seat of Mission Control should be of great interest to fans of NASA history and spaceflight in general. In it, he gives a first-person account of the high-stakes work of Mission Control and the story of the Space Shuttle program.

From the description:

A compelling look inside the Space Shuttle missions that helped lay the groundwork for the Space Age, Shuttle, Houston explores the determined personalities, technological miracles, and eleventh-hour saves that have given us human spaceflight.

Relaying stories of missions (and their grueling training) in vivid detail, [Dye] examines the split-second decisions that the directors and astronauts were forced to make in a field where mistakes are unthinkable, and where errors led to the loss of national resources — and more importantly one’s crew. Dye’s stories from the heart of Mission Control explain the mysteries of flying the Shuttle — from the powerful fiery ascent to the majesty of on-orbit operations to the high-speed and critical re-entry and landing of a hundred-ton glider.

The Space Shuttles flew 135 missions. Astronauts conducted space walks, captured satellites, and docked with the Mir Space Station, bringing space into our everyday life, from GPS to satellite TV. Shuttle, Houston puts readers in his own seat at Mission Control, the hub that made humanity’s leap into a new frontier possible.

As an aside, Dye recently did a Reddit AMA (“ask me anything”) thread that is full of fascinating NASA-related trivia.

Get the book in these formats: