The New Tom Swift series was published in the early 1990s by Pocket Books as an Archway Paperback series. The above story updates Tom Swift's exploits into the 1990s. Tom is depicted on the cover with a spacecraft which appears to be the NASA space shuttle orbiter.
The summary of Tom's adventure is described on the back of the cover. It seems that Tom Swift has invented a very powerful telescope which has the potential of looking into the farthest reaches of deep space (shades of the Hubble Space Telescope). In implementing the project, Tom discovers a shocking thing only a couple hundred miles above Earth. There is a tiny cube of highly polished granite which is orbiting the Earth (one of the more than 5,000 items classified as space junk). On one side of the cube is a mysterious message in an unknown language.
Young Tom used an infrared camera to obtain a photo of the object which convinces his friend that Tom should use the all-new Swift redesigned space shuttle to bring the mysterious granite cube to Earth. Instead, the shuttle flight journeys to the Moon's surface. There, Tom encounters a sinister force of unknown origin which lures Tom and his mission into grave danger.
Those familiar with space shuttle technology will find the summary of NASA's endeavors and the new design of Tom Swift's space shuttle intriguing. The shuttle supposedly performed a "trillion dollar rescue of satellites" during its career. Someone has erred in the placement of a decimal point here. The entire space program in total from its beginning has not cost a trillion dollars. The Swift upgrade to NASA's shuttle is called the MOONSTALKER, the next generation of space shuttles. It is larger, with, of course, more powerful engines and an advanced computer guidance system developed by Swift Enterprises. The MOONSTALKER carries more passengers deeper into space (to the Moon). The present space shuttle will not journey beyond low Earth orbit (several hundred miles above Earth). Judging from the picture of the MOONSTALKER on the cover of the paperback all the enhancements must be in the booster system. Perhaps, Tom Swift has discovered a higher energy fuel than the liquid oxygen/hydrogen propellants with their Isp of 454.