Space: Orbiting with Flash and Buck

A historic touchdown ends Challenger's bittersweet journey

Splendidly white in the morning sun, it looked like a great migratory bird returning to its winter haunts. Indeed, as Challenger appeared out of the blue Florida skies at week's end, it was truly coming home. Touching gently down on the Kennedy Space Center's long concrete runway, within sight of the towering gantry where it had taken off on its 3 million-mile odyssey eight days earlier, the winged ship became the first spacecraft of any nation to end its celestial wanderings where they had begun. From Mission...

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