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Out of Orbit

Written by Chris Jones

  • 320 Pages
  • 9780887847936
  • 8" x 5"
  • BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Science & Technology
  • TECHNOLOGY / Aeronautics & Astronautics


Publication Date May 01, 2008

In February 2003, American astronauts Donald Pettit and Kenneth Bowersox and Russian flight engineer Nikolai Budarin were on a routine fourteen-week mission maintaining the International Space Station. But then the space shuttle Columbia exploded far beneath them. With the launch program suspended indefinitely, these astronauts had suddenly lost their ride back to earth.

Out of Orbit chronicles the efforts of the beleaguered mission controls in Houston and Moscow as they worked frantically against the clock, ultimately settling on a plan that felt, at best, like a long shot. Latched to the side of the space station was a Russian-built Soyuz TMA-1 capsule, the rocket equivalent of a 1976 Gremlin. Despite the inherent danger, the Soyuz became the only hope to return Bowersox, Budarin, and Pettit home. Their harrowing journey back to earth is a powerful reminder that space travel remains an incredibly dangerous pursuit.

Short-listed for the Ottawa Book Award 2008


Chris Jones
Chris Jones was named Canada's outstanding young journalist while working at the National Post. His first book, Falling Hard: A Rookie's Year in Boxing (Anansi), was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award. In 2005, he won the National Magazine Award for Feature Writing for the Esquire story that became the basis for his book Out of Orbit. Chris Jones lives in Ottawa and is a contributing editor of Esquire magazine.


"...a fast-paced suspense story...a nail-biter right to the end." Ottawa Citizen

"[Jones] succeeds in bringing out the human side of a very perilous job..." Times-Colonist

"[Too Far From Home] strikes a perfect balance between the ordinary business of living in space and the high adventure that occurs when things go wrong....Chris Jones will have you on the edge of your seat. This is a story with chills and thrills along the way..." Globe and Mail

"...frank talk enhances readers' identification with the astronauts, making their drama all the more engrossing." Publishers Weekly

"...Jones spins out the story of their return with enough suspense and tension that the outcome feels in doubt for pages....[this book] should satisfy even the most dedicated space buff with his incredible attention to details." Winnipeg Free Press

" on a number of levels: As a history of the space program, as a study of a particular mission, as a thoughtful probing into what it takes to be an astronaut or cosmonaut, as a paean to these gifted space travellers and as a celebration of the beauty of space....a smooth and readable story..." Vancouver Sun

"A nail-biter right to the end." Ottawa Citizen

"Jones portrays...white-knuckled times well..." Quill & Quire