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SRB Zero Second Cutter

Mission: STS-6 Challenger   Crew: Paul J. Weitz
Karol J. Bobko
Donald H. Peterson
F. Story Musgrave
Launch: April 4, 1983  
Landing: April 9, 1983  
Duration: 5 days, 2 hours  
Comment: Maiden flight of Space Shuttle Challenger

This zero second cutter was recovered from one of two Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) that launched STS-6. After separating from Challenger, the SRBs fell to a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean, slowed by the deployment of pilot, drogue, and main parachutes. Each chute triggered the release of the next one, e.g. the 11.5-foot-diameter conical ribbon pilot parachute provided the force to pull the lanyard activating a zero-second cutter, which in turn cut the loop securing the drogue retention straps. This cutter was given as a Program Performance Award to Robert John Kern.

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