During an emergency egress exercise at the launch pad, three STS-93 crew members stand in a slidewire basket that is part of an emergency escape route for persons in the Shuttle and on the Rotating Service Structure. From left are Mission Specialists Michel Tognini of France, Steven A. Hawley (Ph.D.) and Catherine G. Coleman (Ph.D.). The crew have been taking part in Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) activities that include the emergency exit training and 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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