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NASA Officials Split on When Shuttle Will Fly

March 20, 1987|United Press International

HOUSTON — Astronaut John W. Young, contradicting a top NASA official who said Thursday that he remains optimistic, said the planned Feb. 18, 1988, launching date for the first post-Challenger flight will be impossible to meet.

"It sure ain't gonna be in February," the outspoken watchdog of NASA's recovery from the Challenger explosion told the Houston Chronicle in a report published Thursday. "If it were to be in February, we'd leave a lot of things out."

Young said a mountain of work remains before the launching date "and it's tough to do it all."

'Talking About Details'

"But, if you don't do every one of them, we're not ready to fly," he said. "I'm talking about details, period.

"I don't know when it will go," Young said.

Dale Myers, deputy administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said at a symposium Thursday at the Goddard Space Flight Center at Greenbelt, Md., that he thinks the target can still be met.

"In any test program of this scale, there are a lot of threats to the optimum schedule and this one is no exception," Myers said in prepared remarks. "But we have not delayed it yet. We hope and think the schedule will hold.

"But we are not going to fly until we have performed every required test and achieved a satisfactory result," he said.

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