A spaceship named Columbia swoops down from the sky, carrying a treasure chest of research samples accumulated over a nearly 16-day spaceflight. Columbia's main gear touched down on Runway 33 of KSC's Shuttle Landing FAcility at 6:45:21 a.m. EST, November 5. Mission STS-73 marked the second flight of the U.S. Microgravity Laboratory (USML-2). A wide diversity of experiments, ranging from materials processing investigations to plant growth, were located in a Spacelab module in the orbiter cargo bay as well as on the middeck. The seven crew members assigned to STS-73 split into two teams to conduct around-the-clock research during the flight, the sixth Shuttle mission of 1995 and the second longest in program history. The mission commander is Kenneth D.Bowersox; Kent V. Rominger is the pilot. Kathryn C. Thornton is the payload commander, and the two mission specialists are Catherine G. Coleman and Michael E. Lopez-Alegria. To obtain the best results from the microgravity research conducted during the mission, two payload specialists, Albert Sacco Jr. and Fred W. Leslie, also were assigned to the crew. STS-73's return marked the fifth end-of-mission landing in Florida this year, and the 26th overall in the history of the Shuttle program. (Photo Release Date: 11/05/95 )
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