Space shuttle Atlantis' Nov. 15 liftoff, flawless flight and Florida landing have proved that when it comes to military priorities, America's space program is back on track.
Atlantis' mission was a closely held military secret, but civilian observers speculated that the five officers aboard launched a spy satellite to look closely at deployments in the Persian Gulf. Then the mystery deepened. Amateur astronomers watched the satellite change colors, then it disappeared. Now its track is too far south to monitor the Gulf activity.
The dangerous hydrogen fuel leaks that grounded Atlantis in July were nowhere in evidence, and it is to be hoped that the book is closed on that frustrating series of delays, for Atlantis and for its sister ship, Columbia.