Shuttle to push arms race in space, Soviets charge
The Soviet news agency Tass charged that the US space shuttle is a creature of the Pentagon and said the Columbia will be testing a laser weapon guidance system and eventually launching spy satellites into orbit. "The shuttle program from the very outset has been practically completely subordinated to the Pentagon's interests," Tass said. Tass added, "The US military associates the program with its far-reaching plans of projecting the arms race into outer space."
News of the shuttle launching, carried by Soviet radio and TV, which showed blastoff footage on its evening news, came as two Soviet cosmonauts who have been orbiting the earth since March 12 took the day off to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first manned spaceflight.