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The Nation

July 22, 1986

A bus-size bundle of experiments that was launched from the space shuttle Challenger in April, 1984, for a 10-month stay has been 70% ruined by being left in orbit too long, a NASA official said. The long duration exposure facility, or LDEF, contained 57 experiments to be smacked by meteors, pelted by cosmic rays and corroded by oxygen atoms. The 11-ton aluminum cylinder was to be retrieved in February, 1985. The retrieval was put off, and the LDEF was still in orbit when the Jan. 28 Challenger blast halted the space program.

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