June 28, 2020 “Launch minus five minutes . . .”
The space shuttle Renaissance
faced the early-morning sky at Cape Canaveral. Its enormous fuel tanks and boosters dwarfed the vessel as it towered over the launch pad. The launch tower pulled away, leaving the shuttle and its booster rockets clear for flight. It was a beautiful morning, the last Colonel Shaun Christopher would see for more than six months. It would be winter the next time he set foot on Earth. Assuming all goes well,
Inside the cockpit, Shaun was strapped into his seat, staring up at...