Space: Can They Escape Next Time?

Probably not, but a fighting chance is better than nothing

When the shuttle Discovery roars off the pad at the Kennedy Space Center next August to begin NASA's climb back into manned space flight, one thought will be going through everyone's mind: How safe is the crew? Despite the best efforts of engineers and investigators, there is no way to know for sure, so NASA is building in a special safety factor. This week Navy parachutists at Edwards Air Force Base in California will begin testing the second of two newly designed shuttle escape systems. The first has already been put through its paces, and the one that works best will...

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