The second Shuttle launch in 16 days hurtles off the pad into a sweltering summer sky. The unstable weather typical to Florida in the summertime didn't have a chance to coalesce and impact this morning's launch window, and the Space Shuttle Discovery began its planned seven-day, 22-hour flight on Mission STS-70 from Launch Pad 39B at 9:41:55.078 a.m. EDT, just seconds off schedule. On board for Discovery's 21st spaceflight are a crew of five: Commander Terence "Tom" Henricks; Pilot Kevin R. Kregel; and Mission Specialists Nancy Jane Currie, Donald A. Thomas and Mary Ellen Weber. The crew's primary objective during the 70th Shuttle flight is to deploy the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-G), which will join a constellation of other TDRS spacecraft already on orbit. TDRS-G is destined to become an on-orbit, fully operational "ready reserve" satellite, available along with one other ready reserve TDRS spacecraft to back up the two primary TDRS satellites positions, TDRS East over the Atlantic Ocean and TDRS West over the Pacific. Assured capability of the TDRS communications network is essential for linking Earth-orbiting spacecraft such as the Shuttle and the Hubble Space Telescope with the ground. (Photo Release Date: 7/13/95 )
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