Thunderghost involves the hijacking of an American space Shuttle as part of a plan that had been activated prior to Glasnost and Perestroika, but which got carried through by the hardliners in the Military and Intelligence Services without the knowledge of Mr. Gorbachev, who was put under house arrest during a botch coup d’état.
The American response was to send a prototype fighter/bomber on a surgical strike to destroy the Shuttle. To be refueled by a modified B-2 bomber.
The stealth plane is akin to an aeronautical surfboard. It is a Hypersonic Turboram Waverider that rides its own shockwave. Its underside compresses the shock wave, which creates an atmosphere differential. It takes-off and lands as a turbo jet, but changes to ram jet or goes to dual mode for supersonic and hypersonic flight. Thus, allowing 120,000 feet ceiling as oposed to an 80,000 feet. It attains March 4.5 or better.
The story delves into the historical time period that saw Mr. Gorbachev become a man of destiny. He let the horses out of the barn, and even though he wasn’t able to hold the reins for a controlled escape, he deserves the credit for standing tall; while Yeltsin, who’d always gone where his egotistical wind blew, barked at his heels.