The STS-79 astronauts arrive at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility at about the same time the three-day launch countdown gets under way. From left are Mission Specialists Carl E. Walz and John E. Blaha; Mission Commander William F. Readdy; Pilot Terrence W. Wilcutt; and Mission Specialists Thomas D. Akers and Jay Apt. Not too far away, final preparations are in work at Launch Pad 39A to prepare the Space Shuttle Atlantis for liftoff on the 79th Shuttle mission. During the approximately 10-day flight, Atlantis will dock with the Russian Space Station Mir and Blaha will transfer to the station. Returning with the STS-79 astronauts aboard Atlantis will be American astronaut Shannon Lucid, who is wrapping up a record-setting stay aboard Mir. Liftoff currently is set for Sept. 16 at about 4:54 a.m. EDT during an approximately seven-minute launch window. (Photo Release Date: 09/13/96 )

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