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The Nation : Pilot Kin Asks $1.5 Billion

May 07, 1987

The widow of Challenger pilot Michael J. Smith accused rocket builder Morton Thiokol in a $1.5-billion federal lawsuit of placing the Challenger crew "in imminent peril of death" to protect a booster rocket contract with NASA worth billions of dollars. "The motive," the complaint said, "was money." Jane J. Smith alleges a "conspiracy of silence and deceit" in the building of space shuttle rocket boosters and asks that Morton Thiokol be barred from further work on the shuttle program.

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