Space: Looking and Listening in the Heavens

Columbia opens a new satellite era by lofting two pay loads into earth orbit

Traveling high over the Pacific Ocean on its sixth swing around the earth last week, the space shuttle Columbia once again made history. Firing its small thrusters, it rolled and turned so that its big cargo bay faced in the direction of flight. Clamshell-shaped sun covers automatically opened, and the cylindrical parcel underneath them was set spinning (at precisely 52 r.p.m.). With the press of a button, Astronaut Bill Lenoir, 43, fired explosive bolts, releasing the spring-loaded clamps holding the...

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