Inside the White Room attached to the Fixed Service Structure on Launch Pad 39A, STS-99 Commander Kevin Kregel gets ready to place a sign identifying the mission at the entrance to the orbiter Endeavour. Other crew members gathered around are (left to right) Mission Specialists Janice Voss (Ph.D.), Gerhard Thiele, Janet Lynn Kavandi (Ph.D.) and Mamoru Mohri (behind Kregel), and Pilot Dominic Gorie (at right). Thiele is with the European Space Agency and Mohri is with the National Space Development Agency (NASDA) of Japan. The crew are taking part in Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test activities, which provide them with simulated countdown exercises, emergency egress training, and opportunities to inspect the mission payloads in the orbiter's payload bay. STS-99 is the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, which will chart a new course, using two antennae and a 200-foot-long section of space station-derived mast protruding from the payload bay to produce unrivaled 3-D images of the Earth's surface. The result of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission could be close to 1 trillion measurements of the Earth's topography. Besides contributing to the production of better maps, these measurements could lead to improved water drainage modeling, more realistic flight simulators, better locations for cell phone towers, and enhanced navigation safety. Launch of Endeavour on the 11-day mission is scheduled for Jan. 31 at 12:47 p.m. EST. (Photo Release Date: 01/13/2000 )
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