© 1996 Stephen Baxter
Space junkies will be most pleased with Voyage; I've read at least a half-dozen astronaut memoirs, and the technical detail incorporated into the storyline is on part with the astronauts' actual accounts. This is definitely on the 'hard' side of science fiction, based on real science, including the NERVA rocket. There are many references to the history-that-might-have-been, from the head of the Mars program quoting Deke Slayton ("The first men to step on Mars are sitting in this room") to another hanging a lemon in the window of the Mars lander to indicate that he isn't pleased, echoing Gus Grissom and Apollo. The modules produced for the Mars programs take familiar names, names like Endeavor and Discovery -- names that the Shuttle fleet used. Like the Apollo program, there are tragedies, some grievous; but while the Challenger of our timeline proved a source of sorrow, Baxter's Challenger marks humanity's greatest accomplishment. It -- the ship and the book -- are a fitting salute to the men and women of the space program, and a solid read.
The Martian, Andy Weir. Voyage wouldn't have caught my eye were it not for reading this a week or so ago, the story of a man stranded on Mars in the near future.
Contact, Carl Sagan. Natalie York may have been a redhead, but I imagined and heard her as Ellie Arroway.
Mission to Mars, Buzz Aldrin.