During Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TDCT) activities at Launch Pad 39B, the STS-103 crew pose in front of the flame trench, which is situated underneath the Mobile Launcher Platform holding Space Shuttle Discovery. Standing left to right are Mission Specialists Claude Nicollier of Switzerland, who is with the European Space Agency (ESA), C. Michael Foale (Ph.D.), John M. Grunsfeld (Ph.D.), Pilot Scott J. Kelly, Commander Curtis L. Brown Jr., and Mission Specialists Jean-Frangois Clervoy of France, also with ESA, and Steven L. Smith. One of the solid rocket boosters and the external tank that are attached to Discovery can be seen in the photo. The flame trench is made of concrete and refractory brick, and contains an orbiter flame deflector on one side and solid rocket booster flame deflector on the other. The deflectors protect the flame trench floor and pad surface from the intense heat of launch. The TCDT provides the crew with 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: 11/16/1999 )

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STS-103 KSC Photo IndexNext Image KSC-99PP-1325

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