This is, for me, a timely article, since I just finished a science fiction novel called:
A Step Beyond
: Written by C.K. Anderson
It is a novel about a 2021 joint US-Russian mission to Mars. His research into space travel and technical detail is pretty darned good, as is his understanding of how political space travel is, for better and for worse. His characters could have been developed a bit more, but at the cost of considerably expanded page count. Not being a fan of phone book sized novels everytime out . . . I liked his brevity. What his style allows is a good pacing to the story. I'd call it a bit more weighted to the science side of SF.
A good read.