Midmorning proves the perfect time for a Space Shuttle launch as the thunderstorms that characteristically develop later in the day during hot Florida summers hold off long enough to allow a flawless liftoff. The Space Shuttle Columbia surged into space from Launch Pad 39B at 10:49:00 a.m. EDT, June 20, 1996, carrying a crew of seven and the Life and Microgravity Spacelab (LMS). During a spaceflight expected to extend to nearly 17 days, the crew will conduct a diverse slate of experiments divided into a mix of life science and microgravity investigations; and, in a manner very similar to future international space station operations, LMS researchers from the United States and abroad will share resources such as crew time and equipment. (Photo Release Date: 06/20/96 )

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