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News In Brief

Relay satellite failure causes problems for shuttle crew

A ''cosmic hit'' temporarily knocked out a critical communications satellite Monday, reducing contact with the space shuttle Challenger and threatening to disrupt transmission of the ship's radar pictures.

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The failure with the 22,300 mile-high tracking and data relay satellite occurred after the astronauts used a new procedure to avoid an outside ice buildup on the shuttle like one that pestered the last crew.

A spacewalk by astronauts Kathryn Sullivan and David Leestma that had been scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed to Thursday to give the shuttle's big mapping radar more time to gather its valuable data.