West Coast shuttle delay Essay

The first West Coast launching of the space shuttle, which had been tentatively scheduled for Oct. 15 (SN: 1/12/85, p. 28), has been postponed until no earlier than Jan. 29, 1986. Planned as the second classified Defense Department shuttle mission (the first has been set for next week), it is to take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, enabling the craft to enter its first near-polar orbit. The delay is attributed to problems with thermal-protection tiles on the shuttlecraft Challenger, and to the need for additional time to ready the flight’s payload.