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The Shuttle Conspiracy by Richard Lemmon

The Shuttle Conspiracy

by Richard Lemmon

284 pages
Two Flight Controllers plot to strand the Shuttle in orbit.

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Category: Fiction:Techno-Thrillers
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About the Book
Astronaut Dick Lynch comes home to find his Flight Controller wife Terry in bed with the well known Flight Director, Brad Hutchinson. The problem with exposing her infidelity by simply suing for divorce, is that the resulting scandal would endanger his upcoming Shuttle mission into space. He chooses to wait until that mission is over. Terry and Brad, assigned as NASA Flight Controllers to control Dick’s mission from the ground, are not content to await his return and the resultant end to their careers and ambitions.

Across the globe as they ponder their problem, Japan, in need of a large zero gravity manufacturing ‘plant’ looks to the Shuttle for that answer. NASA however, chartered to serve the needs of many nations, will allow only limited space to each nation. Japan, if they are to succeed then, must find a way of convincing NASA otherwise. How? By coming up with a way to downgrade NASA in the nation’s eyes, prompting a vote conscious Congress to thereby reduce their funding. At that point, a generous Japan would come forward with an offer to partner with NASA, asking only extra cargo space for their troubles.

To assist them in this matter, Japan approaches Hutchinson with an offer to appoint him Director to their fledgling Space Program, at a salary of two million dollars, with one million dollars for his assistant, Terry Lynch. An ‘offer the two controllers can’t refuse.’ To accomplish their goal they devise a way to strand Dick’s Shuttle mission in space. Not murder, you understand, just too bad they won’t be able to return. Experts on the Shuttle hardware, they decide on a way to make it appear that the jets required to return the Shuttle from orbit would explode if used for that purpose. Setting up the choice of firing those jets, and dying from the probable explosion, or attempting a nearly impossible maneuver.

Further complicating the plot, Terry’s sister, Linda, a famous newspaper columnist is assigned to write a series on Dick’s mission and comes to Houston for the necessary interviews. Linda bearing a secret torch for her brother-in-law, Dick, talks with him before the mission and learns of Terry’s infidelity. Eventually confessing her affection, the two fall in love just before the launch. Later, during the mission, as Brad and Terry’s plot begins to unfold, Linda, with the help of another Flight Controller, fights to save the mission and return Dick and his crew back to earth. In the process of investigating certain onboard anomalies, they uncover the fact that Brad was amorously involved with yet another Flight Controller who may have been murdered. Along the way they enlist the aid of the head of Mission Control and finally the Director of the Johnson Space Center.

 

 

About the Author
Richard Lemmon was raised in Kentucky and worked in the Space Program where he helped to design the Shuttle. He also served as a NASA Flight Controller working in Mission Control. He retired to pursue his writing and photogrphy and currently resides in Houston, Texas with his wife, Maryann.

 

 

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