24 Years Ago In Time

The technical problems that have grounded the SPACE SHUTTLE were foreshadowed when TIME did a cover story before the first shuttle launch.

A monument to Murphy's Law, the great white Batmobile that will be piloted by Astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen is already two years behind its timetable and $3.6 billion over budget. Only a year ago workmen had diagnosed the ship's ailment as "smallpox," a reference to the holes left in its outer shell when heat-dissipating tiles became unglued. At one time or another, the entire project became unglued. Perhaps it was prophetic that the task force proposing the...

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