STS-83 Mission Commander James D. Halsell, Jr., gives a thumbs-up after he is assisted into his launch/entry suit in the Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building. Halsell is on his third space flight, having served as pilot of both STS-74 and STS-65. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force and a former SR-71 Blackbird test pilot and holds master's degrees in management and space operations. Halsell will have responsibility for the success of the mission and will operate and maintain Columbia during the Red, or second shift. He will also assist with a materials science experiment and a protein crystal growth payload during the 16-day mission. Halsell and six fellow crew members will shortly depart the O&C and head for Launch Pad 39A, where the Space Shuttle Columbia will lift off during a launch window that opens at 2:00 p.m. EST, April 4. (Photo Release Date: 04/04/97 )
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