Astronauts Gibson and Stark take an experimental capsule up to test a new heat-resistant alloy. However, Gibson ejects during re-entry when the ship vibrates, invalidating the test. The results are inconclusive and Stark disputes Gibson's decision, insisting the instruments showed everything was okay. Now McCauley must undertake the same mission... and make the same decision. Written by
A new, more heat resistant reentry shield has been developed, allowing steeper and faster reentry. On the first manned test flight, the ship begins to vibrate severely as it reenters the atmosphere. One of the two-man crew wants to ride it out, his instruments all read normal. But the other crewman ejects their escape capsule. Back on the ground, he takes flack for acting hastily, loosing the ship and data. After some successful unmanned flights, a second manned mission is launched, with Col. McCauley replacing the man who pulled the lever. Again, there is severe vibration on reentry. Again all instruments read normal. McCauley comes very close to pulling the lever, but he holds off, and the vibration eventually stops. Back on the ground, McCauley heads off to tell the man he replaced that if it hadn't been for that first flight, he, too, would have ejected the capsule.
The only new effects for this episode are glowing leading edges on the ship as it begins reentry.
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