Space: Cloudy Vistas for Big Science

NASA's shuttle hopes spring a leak, and Hubble has eye trouble

For all its first-class expertise and glorious achievement in space technology, the U.S. has had more than a fair share of bad luck, not to say tragedy. Now the quality of that vaunted technology has become a serious question. Last week, in a period of just a few days, NASA discovered that its $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope had been fitted with a faulty mirror and that a second of its three shuttles had sprung hydrogen leaks.

Costly and frustrating as the shuttle problem is, NASA will be able to correct it with relative ease. The agency prudently grounded not only...

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