He helped keep solid rockets soaring

After the used solid-rocket boosters were hauled from the sea, United Space Alliance senior engineer Manuel deLeon and his team took them apart and shipped the motors and fuel-storage portions to Utah to be rebuilt and refueled. The rest — including the top part of the rocket, the skirts and parachute system — was stripped to bare metal, tested, tweaked and inspected. Then, after the motor segments returned from Utah, everything was repainted and restacked as 149-foot-tall rockets for another launch. "It's always an impressive thing to see the shiny, new, ready-to-fly rocket," said deLeon, 53. "But the real telling of the process, that everything has gone together, is at liftoff."
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