Shuttle to Come Home Early

Associated Press

NASA said today it will bring Columbia and its crew home from space a day early to ease a crunch on a schedule of 15 shuttle launches this year.

Columbia, which lifted off Sunday 25 days late, will return here Thursday morning after a flight of four days. Flight Director Jay Greene said that in coming home early, "we're not going to miss any objectives." The decision will give engineers an additional day to prepare Columbia for its next flight, an astronomy mission scheduled to start March 6.

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