The STS-93 crew gathers for breakfast in the Operations and Checkout Building before suiting up for launch. Space Shuttle Columbia is due to launch Tuesday, July 20, at 12:36 a.m. EDT. Seated from left are Mission Specialists Michel Tognini, of France, who represents the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), and Steven A. Hawley (Ph.D.), Commander Eileen M. Collins, Pilot Jeffrey S. Ashby, and Mission Specialist Catherine G. Coleman (Ph.D.). STS-93 is a five-day mission primarily to release the Chandra X-ray Observatory, which will allow scientists from around the world to study some of the most distant, powerful and dynamic objects in the universe. The new telescope is 20 to 50 times more sensitive than any previous X-ray telescope and is expected unlock the secrets of supernovae, quasars and black holes. Collins is the first woman to serve as commander of a Shuttle mission. (Photo Release Date: 07/19/1999 )
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