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The Nation

December 21, 1987

NASA and Morton Thiokol Inc. engineers huddled into the night in Brigham City, Utah, trying to unravel a frustrating series of breakdowns that forced postponement of the second full-scale test-firing of the redesigned space shuttle booster rocket. The delay in the test-firing, the second of four required before the boosters will be allowed to launch a shuttle again, was not expected to affect NASA's plans for resuming shuttle missions in June, said Morton Thiokol spokesman Rocky Raab. Officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the aerospace company concentrated on the booster's ignition-control system, which automatically aborted Saturday's already twice-delayed test just one second before firing. Raab said the test-firing of the solid fuel rocket would be rescheduled once engineers determine the scope of that problem and how long it will take to repair it.

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