Tree branches frame the Space Shuttle Discovery as it lifts off from Launch Pad 39A at 6:06:24 p.m. EDT June 2 on its way to the Mir space station. On board Discovery are Mission Commander Charles J. Precourt; Pilot Dominic L. Gorie; and Mission Specialists Wendy B. Lawrence, Franklin R. Chang-Diaz, Janet Lynn Kavandi and Valery Victorovitch Ryumin. The nearly 10-day mission will feature the ninth and final Shuttle docking with the Russian space station Mir, the first Mir docking for the Space Shuttle orbiter Discovery, the first on-orbit test of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), and the first flight of the new Space Shuttle super lightweight external tank. Astronaut Andrew S. W. Thomas will be returning to Earth as an STS-91 crew member after living more than four months aboard Mir. (Photo Release Date: 06/02/98 )
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