Space: Radiant Lift-Off, Hasty Landing

On its second trip, Columbia comes down early

When he was asked if he had any misgivings about flying in a used spacecraft, Astronaut Joe Engle, 49, replied unhesitatingly. Of course not, said the veteran Air Force pilot, Columbia had been tested as thoroughly as any aircraft ever flown. Last week Engle had some cause to rue those words. Despite a flawless and spectacular liftoff, the orbiting spacecraft soon fell prey to more of the technical afflictions that have plagued the $10 billion shuttle program from its very beginning. Two hours after the shuttle...

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