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Based on dozens of exclusive interviews, never-before-published documents and recordings of key meetings obtained by the authors,Comm Checktakes the reader inside the conference rooms and offices where NASA's best and brightest managed the nation's multi-billion-dollar shuttle program -- and where they failed to recognize the signs of an impending disaster.

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It is the story of a space program pushed to the brink of failure by relentless political pressure, shrinking budgets and flawed decision making. The independent investigation into the disaster uncovered why Columbia broke apart in the sky above Texas. Comm Checkbrings that story to life with the human drama behind the tragedy.

Michael Cabbage and William Harwood, two of America's most respected space journalists, are veterans of all but a handful of NASA's shuttle missions. Tapping a network of sources and bringing a combined three decades of experience to bear, the authors provide a rare glimpse into NASA's inner circles, chronicling the agency's most devastating failure and the challenges that face NASA as it struggles to return America to space.

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Comm Check...: The Final Flight of Shuttle Columbia

Insightful Book In-depth inside look at tragedy of Columbia. Best Selling in Nonfiction See all. Burn after Writing by Sharon Jones , Paperback 2. Unlike the Challenger disaster 17 years earlier, Columbia's destruction left the nation one failure away from the potential abandonment of human space exploration.

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Media coverage in the immediate aftermath focused on the possible cause of the disaster, and on the nation's grief. But the full human story, and the shocking details of NASA's crucial mistakes, have never been told -- until now. Based on dozens of exclusive interviews, never-before-published documents and recordings of key meetings obtained by the authors, Comm Check takes the reader inside the conference rooms and offices where NASA's best and brightest managed the nation's multi-billion-dollar shuttle program -- and where they failed to recognize the signs of an impending disaster.

CAIN -- All indications for your hydraulic system indications are good. We've had good quantities all the way across. CAIN -- And when you say you lost these, are you saying that they went They were, like I said, within several seconds of each other.

The Columbia Disaster: CNN Live Coverage Part 1

It is being run through D. We see your tire pressure messages We're right up on top of the tail.

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CAIN -- And there's no commonality between all these tire pressure instrumentations and the hydraulic return instrumentations. We've also lost the nose gear down talk back and the right main gear talk back [a device that broadcasts information on whether the landing gear is up or down]. I didn't expect this kind of a hit on comm.

Expect it to be a little bit intermittent. And this is pretty solid right here. CAIN -- Still all on string two [a communications setup] and everything looked good. JONES -- Closing end point with the one-hour balloon shows us touching down at , 1, feet down the runway. Our cross wind right now is on the left - from the left on the three-three end.

KLING -- On the tire pressures, we did see them go erratic for a little bit before they went away, so I do believe it's instrumentation. The one-hour balloon for Texas for winds for -. In other words, we shouldn't expect as big of a change. I'm comfortable with 1, feet down the runway. It was a bad data point flight.