At Launch Pad 39-B, the Chandra X-ray Observatory sits inside the payload bay on mission Space Shuttle Columbia, waiting for the doors to close. Chandra is the primary payload of STS-93, scheduled to launch aboard Columbia July 20 at 12:36 a.m. EDT. The combined Chandra/Inertial Upper Stage, seen here, measures 57 feet long and weighs 50,162 pounds. Fully deployed with solar arrays extended, the observatory measures 45.3 feet long and 64 feet wide. The world's most powerful X-ray telescope, Chandra 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. (Photo Release Date: 07/17/1999 )
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