The Space Shuttle Columbia blasts off on the 72nd Shuttle flight. The second U.S. Microgravity Laboratory (USML-2) mission began with a liftoff from Launch Pad 39B at 9:53:00 a.m. EDT, October 20. On board are a crew of seven; Mission Commander Kenneth D. Bowersox; Pilot Kent V. Rominger; Payload Commander Kathryn C. Thornton; Mission Specialists Michael E. Lopez-Alegria and Catherine G. Coleman; and Payload Specialists Fred W. Leslie and Albert Sacco Jr. During the nearly 16-day flight of Mission STS-73, the crew will work around the clock on a diverse assortment of USML-2 experiments located in a Spacelab module in Columbia's payload bay. USML-2 builds on the foundation of its predecessor, USML-1, which ranks as one of NASA's most successful science missions. Fields of study include fluid physics, materials science, biotechnology, combustion science and commercial space processing technologies. (Photo Release Date: 10/20/95 )

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