Window on the Soviets

From the outset, Space Shuttle Mission 51-C was supposed to be shrouded in secrecy. Last December the press was told only that the upcoming flight would be the first of many manned shuttle missions carrying purely military payloads. The precise launch time was not announced, to make it more difficult for the Soviets to track the flight. On the morning of the launch, which was pushed back a day because ice formed on the shuttle during a cold snap at Cape Canaveral, journalists were informed simply that the countdown was "proceeding smoothly." Finally, at 2:41 p.m., there was a more specific...

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