The Patient Was Already Dead

Discovery's crew makes a valiant attempt to fix a satellite

The landing, like everything else about the flight of Shuttle 51-D, was slightly behind schedule. Early-morning rains forced an extra-cautious NASA to send the Discovery on an additional orbit and delay its return by some 90 minutes. The touchdown was a bit rough: Discovery blew a tire as it rolled to a stop on the Kennedy Space Center's three-mile-long runway. Upon examination, the ship proved to have suffered more external damage than any previous shuttle--a dinner-plate-size hole near its wingtip and damage to 123 protective tiles. NASA will carefully assess the damage, but has no plans to cancel or postpone future...

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