The Space Shuttle Columbia soars from Launch Pad 39A at 2:02 p.m. EDT July 1 to begin the 16-day STS-94 Microgravity Science Laboratory-1 (MSL-1) mission. The launch window was opened 47 minutes earlier than the originally scheduled time of 2:37 p.m. to improve the opportunity to lift off before Florida summer rain showers reached the space center. The crew members are Mission Commander James D. Halsell Jr.; Pilot Susan L. Still; Payload Commander Janice Voss; Mission Specialists Michael L.Gernhardt and Donald A. Thomas; and Payload Specialists Roger K. Crouch and Gregory T. Linteris. During the space flight, the MSL-1 will be used to test some of the hardware, facilities and procedures that are planned for use on the International Space Station while the flight crew conducts combustion, protein crystal growth and materials processing experiments. Also onboard is the Hitchhiker Cryogenic Flexible Diode (CRYOFD) experiment payload, which is attached to the right side of Columbias payload bay. These payloads had previously flown on the STS-83 mission in April, which was cut short after nearly four days because of indications of a faulty fuel cell. STS-94 is a reflight of that mission. (Photo Release Date: 07/01/97 )

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