BRIGHAM CITY, Utah — Morton Thiokol Inc. is insisting that the recent test-firing of the redesigned space shuttle booster rocket was generally a success, despite NASA's announcement that there were problems.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration at first joined Morton Thiokol in praising the Dec. 23 test-firing, the second for the revamped engine. But on Tuesday the space agency announced that a component in the boot ring on the rocket nozzle had failed.
Fire Killed Five
The announcement came just hours after a flash fire killed five Morton Thiokol employees working on the first stage of an MX missile.
NASA officials said the ring would have to be redesigned, delaying the scheduled June launching of the space shuttle Discovery. That launching was to be the first U.S. manned spaceflight since a faulty seal on the Challenger's rocket booster leaked super-hot gases, triggering the Jan. 28, 1986, explosion that destroyed the space shuttle and killed its seven crew members.