The phone call from the “Mountain” to Mission Control in Houston came at just about the worst possible time. It was the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning in 1991. Up in space, the crew members on board space shuttle Atlantis were sleeping. Now all of a sudden, Lead Flight Director Milt Heflin faced a crisis.
The flight dynamics officer in Mission Control informed Heflin that the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, which tracked orbital traffic, had called to warn that a