Sometime in the next few weeks, the space shuttle Discovery should lift off into orbit. The mission will end a long and agonizing drought for the United States space program, and no group will be more eagerly watching than the nation's space scientists. For on Discovery's rocket plumes will be riding the hopes for launching such key science payloads as the Hubble space telescope, the Galileo planetary probe, and the Gamma Ray Observatory.

But ending what many have called a "crisis" in space science— the result of the long failure to launch—requires more than just a functioning shuttle. It will also take, at the very least, a fleet of expend able rockets and a steady stream of new mission starts.

One man who believes that the U.S. is on the verge of a new, productive era in space is Lennard A. Fisk, NASA'S associate administrator for space science and applications....

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