Space Shuttle Columbia sits on Launch Pad 39B in preparation for the launch of STS-93. This view shows the flame trench, 490 feet long and 40 feet high, which helps contain the intense heat that occurs at launch. Columbia was rolled out June 7, less than two weeks after the liftoff of Discovery on mission STS-96. The STS-93 payload is the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the world's most powerful X-ray telescope, which will allow scientists from around the world to see previously invisible black holes and high-temperature gas clouds, giving the observatory the potential to rewrite the books on the structure and evolution of our universe. Columbia (OV-102) is the first of NASA's orbiter fleet, delivered to Kennedy Space Center in March 1979. Columbia initiated the Space Shuttle flight program at KSC when it lifted off Launch Pad 39A on April 12, 1981. (Photo Release Date: 06/07/1999 )
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