Space: Battlestar Columbia?

Forget Star Wars, with future shuttles zapping each other with lasers and death rays. Those are far, far off, and may never be feasible. But in the wake of Columbia's triumph, no one at the Pentagon—or the Kremlin—is minimizing the shuttle's military importance. Even Columbia's commander, John Young, a former Navy test pilot, could not resist plugging the space shuttle's military possibilities. Said he, at a homecoming in Houston last week: "I think the American public is going to get their money's worth out of this baby. It will allow us to do in the '80s and '90s things we must...

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