Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bringing Columbia Home: The Untold Story of a Lost Space Shuttle and Her Crew” as Want to Read:
Bringing Columbia Home: The Untold Story of a Lost Space Shuttle and Her Crew
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bringing Columbia Home: The Untold Story of a Lost Space Shuttle and Her Crew

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  814 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Mike Leinbach was the launch director of the space shuttle program when Columbia disintegrated on reentry before a nation’s eyes on February 1, 2003. And it would be Mike Leinbach who would be a key leader in the search and recovery effort as NASA, FEMA, the FBI, the US Forest Service, and dozens more federal, state, and local agencies combed an area of rural east Texas th
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published January 23rd 2018 by Arcade Publishing (first published January 2nd 2018)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bringing Columbia Home, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bringing Columbia Home

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  814 ratings  ·  108 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On the morning of February 1, 2003, I was in my car and tuned in to the local NPR radio station. Despite working in the space industry, I hadn't been following shuttle missions very closely, so I wasn't expecting to hear anything in particular about Columbia's return. But I was confused to hear an audio feed from mission control in Houston, with the call, "Columbia, Houston. Comm check." repeated over and over. What was going on? Why were they broadcasting this? Of course the grim situation soon ...more
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
I am a total NASA nerd. Reading about the history of manned space flight is one of my passions, so I was really looking forward to this book’s release. I remember the day Columbia broke up vividly. And this book is really interesting, because it’s not about the launch, where Columbia was doomed, or what the astronauts did during their time in space, it’s fully about the recovery of the Columbia debris (and the great lengths taken to find the remains of her crew) and the effort to find out what c ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just LOVED this book.. Hats off to the authors for writing such an incredible book !
Must read for all space program lovers !!
I wasn't expecting this to be such an emotional reading experience, but it most definitely was. This tells the story of the Columbia shuttle disaster in 2003. But it tells way more than that. In this incredible book you really get to see just how amazing people are, the lengths that strangers will go to step up in the midst of a crisis, and the idea that the space program is America's space program and that it's important.

I remember when the Columbia broke apart on reentry. I watched a lot of t
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, favorites
A great story about what happened immediately after the Space Shuttle Columbia’s breakup while re-entering earth's atmosphere, from the actions of NASA, first responders throughout the country, federal, state, and local government officials, and citizen volunteers through the accident investigation. This is what I would call a “got their hands dirty” story – the work being described was mostly the hands-on, in the field variety, not so much the stuff happening back at the office. And by in the f ...more
The commemorative video's title says it all: Sixteen Minutes from Home.

On February 1, 2003, space shuttle Columbia and her crew were on the way home with the plan to land at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. Over Texas it disintegrated, leaving a trail of debris nearly 250 miles long from south of Dallas to just over the border with Louisiana.

The author, Michael Leinbach, was the launch director of NASA's space shuttle program. as well as a key leader in the search and recovery of the debri
I remember watching videos of space shuttle Columbia's destruction in high school. I also remembering wishing I knew that I could have looked up that morning and seen the shuttle fly over my hometown

This book's author, Michael Leinbach, was the head administrator for NASA's effort reconstruct the remains of the space shuttle and figure out what happened. The book focuses more on documenting how Columbia was recovered as opposed to what failures caused columbia to crash. And it's really fascinat
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a very, very detailed account of the recovery efforts for the Columbia orbiter. So many names, places, and minutia that probably helped bring closure to people more directly involved. For an average reader or even someone with a mild interest in space, it was TOO detailed and could have been greatly shortened. The story it tells is important and 5 star worthy in itself, but the book was a bit tedious at times. I wish there was a little more personal background on the crew and the missio ...more
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some of my earliest memories are of Alan Shepard...John Glenn and the beginnings of our space program. And just like many others, I'll always remember where I was when I witnessed the loss of both the Challenger and Columbia space shuttles. So I was very interested in what Michael Leinbach had to say about the recovery efforts of the Columbia, for me it was a must read.
I think it is a remarkable book, at times uplifting and inspiring but also bringing sadness and tears
Highly recommended.
Michael Mesarch
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was an excellent book that told of the heroic effort by the multi-agency team and numerous volunteers who labored to lay these astronauts to rest, discover the reason for the Columbia breakup, and to bring the shuttle fleet back to flight status. However, being a NASA employee, it was hard to read because of the emotional aspect of the story, even this many years later.
Nov 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Unbiased review provided in exchange for an ARC from Edelweiss.

"Bringing Columbia Home" is a story about logistics and humanity. It seems a difficult mix, but it works: We start the book with the movement of Columbia through launch and her final moments upon return. The vast majority of the book is dedicated to the what came after--how, exactly, did NASA recover over 40% of the shuttle, with pieces smaller than nickels, and with such dedication to the privacy and dignity of those lost in the mis
Patti Brown
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before I start my review for "Bringing Columbia Home," I will share two facts: 1. Jonathan Ward (one of the authors) is a very dear friend of mine. 2. I, in general, do not care about the space program.

The book tells the Space Shuttle Columbia’s last flight and break up on re-entry, and while offering some technical descriptions, is much more focused on the amazing people who searched for the crews’ remains and shuttle debris and those that re-constructed the pieces to help determine what went
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, non-fiction
Interesting enough but too prolix.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
**Bringing Columbia Home** is the story of the aftermath of the break-up of the Columbia shuttle, told by *Michael D. Leinbach* who was a launch manager at NASA and bore responsibility during the collection of Columbia and the ensuing review. I didn't really like the book – the author gave me the feeling that the book was more written for the people involved in the clean-up missions, both volunteers and professionals, than for an interested outsider like me. Some chapters feel more like a long l ...more
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Holy Bible, Joshua 1:9 – Passage read by Commander Rick Husband, just before the launch of Columbia in January 2003.

A bit dry in parts, especially with regards to some of the more technical aspects of this investigation, but still well worth this 5 star rating, as for me, reading this book was like watching a car accident – I felt compelled to kee
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was a big spacecraft that broke up over a huge area and required a massive recovery effort and thousands of people to figure out what happened. But this telling of the loss of Columbia and her crew, while going into great detail about the unprecedented land search and careful reconstruction effort, weaves a very human tale. Small gestures, little things, individual moments add up to an emotional account of finding pieces of the orbiter, respectfully recovering the remains of the crew and the ...more
Irene Moyer
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating, moving, impressive work

What work it took to figure out the problems with the flight, recover the astronauts, and the wreckage. The logistics were daunting. Really well done and interesting.
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I really can't say enough good things about this book. I was an adult at the time of the Columbia disaster, and followed the investigation on the news, so I was familiar with the basics of the event and the conclusions of the investigators. This book, however, gives a deep and detailed view of the disaster, from pre-launch preparations to present day memorials, in a first-person account from a man who was front and center for much of it. Mr. Lienbach was the launch commander for Columbia's last ...more
Bedrooped Bookworms
I was in middle school when the shuttle disaster happened.  I remember watching footage on TV that day.  So I've always been interested in the story of what happened.  I recently read High Calling by Evelyn Husband, and when searching for another book in Overdrive, I stumbled across this book and decided to check it out.

This book is the story of the search and recovery efforts that went on for months in Texas, the story of the reconstruction in Florida to determine the cause of the crash, and th
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This book describes the effort that was undertaken to locate and recover the remains of the crew and the spacecraft Columbia STS-107 which broke up during reentry in 2003. It also details what happened to Columbia and the analysis that determined what happened.

Houston lost communications with Columbia at 8:59:32, about 16 minutes prior to scheduled landing in Florida. Forty-six seconds later, Columbia came apart 181,000 feet above Corsicana & Palistine, Texas going over 11,000 mph.

The reinf
Fraser Kinnear
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, space, nasa
Probably 25,000 Americans were involved in bringing Columbia home, constituting tHe largest ground search effort in US history. Most of this manpower enabled the parts recovery effort across East Texas, managed under the Incident Command System that was set up. The story of this effort makes up the majority of this book. I was most interested in, and affected by, the final third of the book, where NASA employees pulled the ~80,000 shuttle pieces together to figure out what went wrong, and what c ...more
Tushar Pai
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mike Leinbach was the launch director of the ill fated Columbia shuttle that completely disintegrated in front of hopeful viewers and NASA staff during re-entry on February the 1st, 2003.

It is the most fascinating account of the rescue operation that involved hundreds of volunteers from federal, state and local agencies who strove days on end to recover the shuttle and crew remains. It is a story of determination, teamwork and collaboration that resulted in the largest ground operation in the hi
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: space
"I hate this book!" I probably exclaimed this to my boyfriend 20 times as I forced myself to finish it. Will I read it again? Probably not. Was it worthwhile as a one time read? Yes! I'm also psyched to have it in my space book collection.

Let's back up... the book is a little bit graphic, especially if you don't know much about Columbia like I did. I know tons about the space shuttle fleet, etc, but knew little to nothing about Columbia's accident. I assumed that everything burned up like a pre
I remember when the space shuttle Columbia returned from its mission in 2003. Like most Americans, I was shocked and dismayed when the shuttle broke up during reentry and its remnants were scattered in areas of the southeastern United States. Leinbach provided information as to what caused the disaster, efforts to ensure that it could not happen again and a scenario as to what the astronauts experienced in the last moments of their flight.

The demise of the space shuttle Columbia is a depressin
Linda Appelbaum
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Mr. Leinbach for writing this book! Harrowing, haunting and mesmerizing, this story of the Columbia's failed reentry and return to earth is absolutely amazing and lovingly explained. Imagine a jigsaw puzzle of a million pieces spread out over many miles. First you have to find the pieces, then put them together....almost impossible and yet that is what literally thousands of people and many government agencies did to find not just the crew, but discover what went wrong. I was stunned t ...more
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I was not able to finish this book. I was probably 75% of the way through it. It is a very good book, the problem is in its coverage of an utterly catastrophic event - in a setting where the reader knows what happened and how it happened - it’s terribly sad, poignant, and then just goes on and on and on ad infinitum in great detail later in the book about the terrible struggle that those directly involved with Columbia and her recovery experienced. The author, who managed this Herculean effort, ...more
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book completely holds your attention. The first person accounts of the residents of east Texas who witnessed the impact of shuttle debris, the reaction of NASA and launch personnel as they realize that something has gone horribly wrong, are all riveting.

The author was the launch director of thee shuttle program, so he writes from an expert and highly informed position. He details the searches for not only the parts of the shuttle, but, more importantly, the search for the remains of each a
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is easily the best book ever written about the Columbia tragedy, in my opinion. Kennedy Space Center Launch Director Mike Leinbach teamed up with veteran aerospace author Jonathan Ward to describe in far greater detail than ever before the recovery of the ship after it broke apart over east Texas and Louisiana. 25,000 Americans at the local, state, and federal level worked together to recover about 84,000 pounds of material over the three months following the tragedy. This amounted to 38 pe ...more
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
My husband and I are space nerds. We grew up in the days of Apollo. We used to watch every shuttle launch and landing, so we were watching Feb. 1, 2003. The memories of that morning were with me as I read Bring Columbia Home. The book is a love story with the joy and heartbreak that have accompanied Human Space Flight. From the first realization that something had gone horribly wrong to the final answer of what caused the disaster, the book chronicles the meticulous work of the process of collec ...more
Rosey Bowser
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I started reading this, my first thought was, "I was 21 years old in 2003, why don't I remember this?" Co-author Jonathan Ward told me he wanted to write this because Columbia was the forgotten disaster. The country's attention was focused on Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq, and unless you worked for NASA or lived in the affected swath of the South you simply didn't hear much about Columbia at all.

I found this book very accessible to someone with little technical knowledge. The authors
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Go, Flight!: The Unsung Heroes of Mission Control, 1965–1992
  • In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965-1969
  • Into the Black: The Extraordinary Untold Story of the First Flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the Astronauts Who Flew Her
  • Dreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration
  • Korolev: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon
  • Forever Young: A Life of Adventure in Air and Space
  • "Live from Cape Canaveral": Covering the Space Race, from Sputnik to Today
  • Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto
  • Martian Summer: Robot Arms, Cowboy Spacemen, and My 90 Days with the Phoenix Mars Mission
  • The Crash Detectives: Investigating the World's Most Mysterious Air Disasters
  • Better for All the World: The Secret History of Forced Sterilization and America's Quest for Racial Purity
  • Deke!
  • Chasing the Demon
  • Sky Walking: An Astronaut's Memoir
  • Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space
  • How Apollo Flew to the Moon
  • Off the Planet: Surviving Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station Mir
  • Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity
See similar books…
“One of the first incident commanders the Forest Service brought in was a man named George Custer, who administered the Nacogdoches camp. Understandably, many of the Native Americans wanted to have their picture taken with him.” 0 likes
More quotes…