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Shuttle Booster Rockets Look Okay With PM-Space Shuttle, Bjt

March 16, 1989

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) _ NASA said today the two solid fuel booster rockets that helped thrust space shuttle Discovery into orbit appeared to be in good condition as engineers began a detailed inspection.

The 149-foot rockets parachuted into the Atlantic Ocean 150 miles offshore on Monday and were brought to shore by two recovery ships.

Flight data and a look at the motors showed the rockets performed well during Monday’s launch and did not have any cork insulation loss like that suspected of damaging shuttle tiles on the last mission in December.

The rockets were redesigned because a joint in one allowed flame to escape and touched off the Chalenger explosion that killed seven astronauts on Jan. 28, 1986.

Royce Mitchell, project manager of the booster rocket program at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, said Discovery’s boosters burned just 1.4 seconds longer than predicted during the two minutes their motors were firing.

″We’re very pleased with that kind of performance,″ he said.

The twin boosters made up the third set of redesigned rockets NASA has flown since returning the shuttle to flight in September.

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