WASHINGTON—In an attempt to revive a disheartened space science community, NASA has teamed up with other federal research agencies to design a series of small, inexpensive experiments to be carried by the space shuttle during construction of the proposed space station in the first half of the next decade. The program is expected to run on a timetable more in harmony with the academic career of a typical graduate student than the extended period needed to launch a major scientific experiment.

"The nature of research in space has changed," explained NASA's David Black, chief scientist for the space station and chairman of an ad hoc group that has adopted as its slogan the phrase, Quick Is Beautiful. "Fifteen or 20 years ago," Black said, "anything you could do to get detectors in space led to something important. Now we've progressed to more sophisticated, powerful and expensive payloads."

Billion-dollar spacecraft and...

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