Space: Thin Wire Away From Eternity

Challenger makes its debut

They looked like acrobatic snowmen as they joyously floated, tumbled and wheeled about in their puffy white space suits. But for Astronauts Story Musgrave, 47, and Donald Peterson, 49, last week's orbital excursion was much more than the romp it seemed to millions of television viewers back on earth. Restrained only by 50-ft.-long tethers, they drifted over the new space shuttle Challenger's big, open cargo bay, at times peering over the side into the dizzying abyss of space, only a thin wire away from eternity.

While the earth loomed in...

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