In the Operations and Checkout Building during final launch preparations, STS-93 Pilot Jeffrey S. Ashby waits after donning his launch and entry suit while a suit tech adjusts his helmet. 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. The STS-93 crew numbers five: Commander Eileen M. Collins, Ashby, and Mission Specialists Stephen A. Hawley (Ph.D.), Catherine G. Coleman (Ph.D.) and Michel Tognini of France, with the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES). Collins is the first woman to serve as commander of a shuttle mission. STS-93 is scheduled to lift off at 12:36 a.m. EDT July 20. The target landing date is July 24 at 11:30 p.m. EDT. (Photo Release Date: 07/19/1999 )
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