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   shuttle tracking and support for the mission ... They will be able to

   do their job'.17

  

   Atlantis waited, ready to go, at launchpad 39B. The technicians had

   filled the shuttle up with rocket fuel and it looked as if the weather

   might hold. It was partly cloudy, but conditions at Kennedy passed

   muster.

  

   The astronauts boarded the shuttle. Everything was in place.

  

   But while the weather was acceptable in Florida, it was causing some

   problems in Africa, the site of an emergency landing location. If it

   wasn't one thing, it was another. NASA ordered a four-minute delay.

  

   Finally at 12.54 p.m., Atlantis boomed from its launchpad. Rising up

   from the Kennedy Center, streaking a trail of twin flames from its

   huge solid-fuel boosters, the shuttle reached above the atmosphere and

   into space.

  

   At 7.15 p.m., exactly 6 hours and 21 minutes after lift-off, Galileo

   began its solo journey into space. And at 8.15 p.m., Galileo's booster

   ignited.

  

   Inside shuttle mission control, NASA spokesman Brian Welch announced,

   `The spacecraft Galileo ... has achieved Earth escape velocity'.18

  

                            [ ]

 

   Monday, 30 October 1989

   NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

  

   The week starting 16 October had been a long one for the SPAN team.

   They were keeping twelve-hour days and dealing with hysterical people

   all day long. Still, they managed to get copies of anti-WANK out,

   despite the limitations of the dated SPAN records and the paucity of

   good logs allowing them to retrace the worm's path. `What we learned

   that week was just how much data is not collected,' McMahon observed.

  

   By Friday, 20 October, there were no new reports of worm attacks. It

   looked as though the crisis had passed. Things could be tidied up by

   the rest of the SPAN team and McMahon returned to his own work.

  

   A week passed. All the while, though, McMahon was on edge. He doubted

   that someone who had gone to all that trouble of creating the WANK

   worm would let his baby be exterminated so quickly. The decoy-duck

   strategy only worked as long as the worm kept the same process name,

   and as long as it was programmed not to activate itself on systems

   which were already infected. Change the process name, or teach the

   worm to not to suicide, and the SPAN team would face another, larger

   problem. John McMahon had an instinct about the worm; it might just

   be back.

  

   His instinct was right.

  

   The following Monday, McMahon received another phone call from the

   SPAN project office. When he poked his head in his boss's office,

   Jerome Bennett looked up from his desk.

  

   `The thing is back,' McMahon told him. There was no need to explain

   what `the thing' was. `I'm going over to the SPAN office.'