Every time an astronaut makes the trip into space, he faces the risk of death from the slightest mechanical error or instance of bad luck. In February 2003, American astronauts Donald Pettit and Kenneth Bowersox and Russian flight engineer Nikolai Budarin were on what was to be a routine fourteen-week mission maintaining the International Space Station. But then the shuttle Columbia exploded beneath them. With the launch program suspended indefinitely, these astronauts had suddenly lost their ride back to earth. This book offers a detailed portrait of the odd life of the people who live in zero gravity, as it chronicles the efforts of the beleaguered mission controls in Houston and Moscow working frantically to bring their men home--ultimately settling on a plan that felt, at best, like a long shot.--From publisher description.