The sniveling hack in the White House and his counterpart in the Kremlin won't hear of aborting the binational vote-getting solar energy project just because of some last-minute technical problem. Not after they've outdone each other's headlines getting women onto the crew. And a day or so later the assorted ghouls of press and TV are happily documenting the annihilation of a small English city by a damaged 600-ton core booster impacting at 20,000 feet per second. The surviving crew members, in critically precarious orbit aboard their crippled ship, seem to be headed for the same fate or worse, what with the murderous decisions and indecisions going on from Kapustin Yar to Cape Canaveral. Harrison wastes little time on anything but down-to-the-wire suspense, but he provides that in whopping good doses. A shamelessly effective Chicken Little potboiler.