Turning night into day for a few moments while belching clouds of smoke and steam, Space Shuttle Discovery hurtles into the black sky on mission STS-103. The successful liftoff occurred at 7:50 p.m. EST from Launch Pad 39B. On board are Commander Curtis L. Brown Jr., Pilot Scott J. Kelly and Mission Specialists Steven L. Smith, C. Michael Foale (Ph.D.), John M. Grunsfeld (Ph.D.), Claude Nicollier of Switzerland and Jean-Frangois Clervoy of France. Nicollier and Clervoy are with the European Space Agency. STS-103 is a Hubble Servicing Mission, with three planned space walks designed to install new equipment and replace old. The primary objective is to replace the gyroscopes that make up the three Rate Sensor Units. Extravehicular activities include installing a new computer, changing out one of the Fine Guidance Sensors, replacing a tape recorder with a new solid state recorder, and installing a voltage/temperature improvement kit, and begin repairing the insulation on the telescope's outer surface. After the 7-day, 21-hour mission, Discovery is targeted to land at KSC Monday, Dec. 27, at about 5:24 p.m. EST. This is the 27th flight of Discovery and the 96th mission in the Space Shuttle Program. It is the third launch at Kennedy Space Center in 1999. (Photo Release Date: 12/19/1999 )
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