In the slidewire basket on Launch Pad 39B, STS-103 Mission Specialist C. Michael Foale (Ph.D.) gets ready to pull the lever, which will release the basket. With Foale are fellow crew members Mission Specialists Claude Nicollier of Switzerland and John M. Grunsfeld (Ph.D.). The baskets are part of the emergency egress system for persons in the Shuttle vehicle or on the Rotating Service Structure. Seven slidewires extend from the orbiter access arm, with a netted, flatbottom basket suspended from each wire. The STS-103 crew are taking part in Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) activities in preparation for launch. The other crew members taking part are Commander Curtis L. Brown Jr., Pilot Scott J. Kelly, and Mission Specialists Steven L. Smith, and Jean-Frangois Clervoy of France. Clervoy and Nicollier are with the European Space Agency. The TCDT provides the crew with the emergency egress training, opportunities to inspect their mission payloads in the orbiter's payload bay, and simulated countdown exercises. STS-103 is a "call-up" mission due to the need to replace and repair portions of the Hubble Space Telescope, including the gyroscopes that allow the telescope to point at stars, galaxies and planets. The STS-103 crew will be replacing a Fine Guidance Sensor, an older computer with a new enhanced model, an older data tape recorder with a solid-state digital recorder, a failed spare transmitter with a new one, and degraded insulation on the telescope with new thermal insulation. The crew will also install a Battery Voltage/Temperature Improvement Kit to protect the spacecraft batteries from overcharging and overheating when the telescope goes into a safe mode. Four EVA's are planned to make the necessary repairs and replacements on the telescope. The mission is targeted for launch Dec. 6 at 2:37 a.m. EST. (Photo Release Date: 11/17/1999 )
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STS-103 KSC Photo IndexNext Image KSC-99PP-1338
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