Out of Orbit
Written by Chris Jones
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 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.