Space: Flying the Seatless Chair

Despite a satellite loss, Challenger opens a new era in orbit

When the space shuttle Challenger lifted off from Florida last week, the roaring flames signaled the start of NASA's busiest year in space. Ten missions are scheduled for 1984, including one with a secret Pentagon payload. But Challenger had barely settled into orbit 190 miles above the earth on the tenth shuttle mission when space gremlins struck. A multimillion-dollar communications satellite, one of two carried on board, mysteriously vanished into the void. Still, in spite of the embarrassing loss, NASA hoped to redeem...

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