April 15, 1985 – In Praise Of Gizmos
Busy day in space, April 15, 1985. The Shuttle Discovery crew was up early, readying for a battery of tests and an attempt to rescue a wayward satellite, spinning out of control.
Hopes were pinned on an arm, the length of a hockey stick, with a device which would flip a switch on the unresponsive satellite, in order to stabilize it and put it back on course. It was a simple matter of flipping a 4-inch switch to the “on” position. And while one of the Shuttle Astronauts could conceivably do it, the risks in attempting such a maneuver were greater than just doing it via “the gizmo”.
Meanwhile, back on earth – the world’s fifth artificial heart recipient was undergoing a surgical procedure this day. 62 year-old Jack Burcham was having a drainage tube inserted into his chest, following his six-hour implant operation the previous day. Burcham bled so heavily, that doctors at Louisville’s Humana Hospital had to replace more than twice the amount of blood in Burcham’s body. As of this morning, Doctors reported Burcham’s condition as “satisfactory”. The procedure on inserting the tube was to reduce pressure on Burcham’s lungs.
On Capitol Hill – debate over President Reagan‘s budget package and compromise, with all eyes on Social Security as one of the objects of deep cuts in Domestic spending. Opponents was qluickly focusing on the proposal to hold Social Security cost of living increases to 2% a year over the coming three years. The House committee was busy calling witnesses in to testify, claiming hundreds of thousands of the elderly would be driven below the poverty line. Some thought the Social Security issue was tampering with the system and breaking President Reagan’s promise to leave Social Security alone. Although many felt it wasn’t going to hurt “that much”.
And that’s just a sample of what was going on, this April 15th in 1985, as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.
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