Space: Half a Dozen Guinea in Orbit

Despite glitches, Spacelab is off to a flying start

In the inimitable NASA phrase, everything seemed to be going A-O.K. As Columbia circled the earth for the third time, with no problem in view, Astronaut Owen Garriott and his West German sidekick Ulf Merbold floated gracefully toward the rear of the main cabin. They reached out and tugged at a hatch that would lead them to the shuttle's cargo bay. To their surprise, despite several minutes of huffing and pulling, the door refused to budge. Not until the muscle power of the entire six-man...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!