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The Nation

February 11, 1988

Engineers at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and at Morton Thiokol Inc. are trying to determine if a design error in 72 bolts used to secure the redesigned space shuttle's booster exhaust nozzle should push back the planned Aug. 4 launch of the first post-Challenger mission. A redesigned joint includes a second rubber O-ring seal and rubber washers for each bolt, Royce Mitchell, of the Marshall redesign team, said. The bolts, originally threaded all the way to the bolt head, were redesigned to have a smooth, unthreaded area for the rubber washers to seal against. But the new specifications were not passed on to the bolt manufacturer, Mitchell said.

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