Meanwhile, Back on Earth . . .

Just when NASA thought it had found a way to break through the clouds, it was hit by the last thing the beleaguered agency needs: a fresh scandal. Last Wednesday, while Endeavour was fueling up for its Thursday morning blast-off, two Houston TV stations and nbc Nightly News with Tom Brokaw reported that NASA had been targeted by an FBI sting operation -- code-named Lightning Strike -- that had snared agency employees and contractors.

For the rest of the week, reports of the shuttle's progress in space had to compete for air time with lurid tales of bribes, kickbacks and a...

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