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US space shuttle in test for March 14 launch date

A current two-week test of the space shuttle Columbia will likely determine whether it can be launched on schedule March 14. The test, along with a firing of the shuttle's three main engines on the launch pad in February, is considered a crucial step in the planned launching, Dr. Robert Gray of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said.

"The shuttle interface test is a real biggie, because the entire shuttle has never been tested in its complete configuration," he said.

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"The astronauts will be on board during a number of the tests and will rehearse going into orbit and coming back to earth, as well as emergencies. . . . The test show if everything is ready for flight."

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