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Off Beat: Ex-NASA manager sues Discovery over his portrayal in Challenger movie


A retired NASA manager has sued Discovery Communications Inc. for defamation over his portrayal in a film depicting the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster.

The suit filed by Judson A. Lovingood Feb. 28 in Madison County, Ala. Circuit Court in Huntsville is seeking $14 million over his portrayal in “Challenger Disaster,” a film that first aired on Discovery Science Channel last November purporting to be a “true story”.

In his suit, Mr. Lovingood, who was a deputy manager in NASA’s shuttle project office, takes particular issue with a scene depicting the Challenger investigation commission in which the character identified as Mr. Lovingood provides testimony. The suit claims the character is depicted lying to the commission in a scene that actually never took place in any hearing.

Mr. Lovingood’s suit seeks $7 million in compensatory damages and $7 million in punitive damages.

Silver Springs, Md.-based Discovery Communications declined to respond, according to various reports.