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NASA plans to combine two Discovery flights

NASA announced Thursday it will combine space shuttle Discovery's first and second flights into a single mission and launch the ship Aug. 24. By flying a combined mission, NASA will eliminate one shuttle flight and keep the shuttle schedule on track.

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Shuttle managers started seriously considering a combined mission last week and were ready to announce that decision Monday when a complication arose. A Star 48 rocket nozzle failed in a test chamber at the McDonnell Douglas plant in St. Louis. Two attempted launches in June were scrubbed due to technical difficulties.

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