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Biggest repair job: Salyut 7, launched in 1982, malfunctioned in 1985 while unoccupied. Cosmonauts Vladimir Dzhanibekov and Viktor Savinykh flew to the station June 6, finding it frozen from power loss and tumbling in space. They recharged batteries, repaired water pipes, and warmed the living quarters. It was 10 days before they could move in.
First satellite repair: Challenger astronauts George D. "Pinky" Nelson and James D. "Ox" Van Hoften rescued the ailing Solar Max astronomy satellite in April 1984, making the first-ever in-space satellite repair in the shuttle cargo bay, then releasing Solar Max back to orbit.
First metal welding: Cosmonauts Georgi Shonin and Valeri Kubasov did the first welding of metal in space in October 1969.
First jury trial stemming from misfortune in orbit: The trial took place in Chicago in 1990 when insurance companies sued the manufacturers of a rocket used in an attempt to launch a communications satellite for Indonesia. When the launch vehicle failed, three reinsurance companies paid $5.6 million to Indonesia's telecommunications agency, then took the rocket makers to court to recover the cost. Hitco, a subsidiary of British Petroleum Ltd, manufactured the allegedly-failed rocket part. Thiokol Corp. designed and built the rocket motor. Chicago lawyers Lord Bissel & Brook were successful in defending Hitco. Chicago lawyers Adler Kaplan & Begy represented Thiokol Corp. and also were successful when Thiokol was found not negligent. However, Thiokol did pay $37,000 for breach of warranty of the product. On February 3, 1984, U.S. shuttle Challenger flight STS-41B from Cape Canaveral, with crew Vance D. Brand, Robert L. "Hoot" Gibson, Ronald E. McNair, Robert L. Stewart and Bruce McCandless II, carried the satelites Palapa and Westar, which failed after release and had to be recovered by flight 51A in November 1984. The shuttle landed at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
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