HIGH-TECH PIE IN THE SKY

LOCKHEED MARTIN, NOT NASA, WILL CONSTRUCT THE SPACESHIP OF THE FUTURE--IF WALL STREET BUYS IT

The hometown crowd at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California, reacted even before Vice President Al Gore announced which of three hotly competitive designs had been chosen as the space shuttle of the future. Lockheed Martin's VentureStar, which would be built in nearby Palmdale, looks like no other spacecraft, and when Gore reached for a model airship shaped like a giant piece of pie, the group burst into applause. Undaunted, the Vice President plunged on with his scripted gag, "You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand the importance of this moment."

In fact, the importance of choosing...

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