On Launch Pad 39B, (right) STS-93 Mission Specialist Catherine G. Coleman (Ph.D.) gives a thumbs up to Mission Specialist Michel Tognini of France (left) to pull the lever that will release the slidewire basket they are in. Also in the basket is Mission Specialist Steven A. Hawley (Ph.D.). The baskets are part of an emergency escape route for persons in the Shuttle and on the Rotating Service Structure. During the exercise, which is part of Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) activities, the basket is wired in place. The TCDT also includes a launch-day dress rehearsal culminating with a simulated main engine cut-off. Other crew members participating are Commander Eileen M. Collins and Pilot Jeffrey S. Ashby. Tognini represents the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES). Collins is the first woman to serve as a Shuttle commander. The primary mission of STS-93 is the release of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, which will allow scientists from around the world to obtain unprecedented X-ray images of exotic environments in space to help understand the structure and evolution of the universe. The targeted launch date for STS-93 is no earlier than July 20 at 12:36 a.m. EDT from Launch Pad 39B. (Photo Release Date: 06/24/1999 )
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