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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- A diversified mission of astronomy, commercial space research and International Space Station preparation gets under way as the Space Shuttle Columbia climbs into orbit from Launch Pad 39B at 2:55:47 p.m. EST, Nov. 19, 1996. During Mission STS- 80, Columbia’s five-person crew will deploy and retrieve two free-flying spacecraft, conduct two spacewalks and perform a variety of microgravity research experiments in the Shuttle’s middeck area. The veteran crew is led by Commander Kenneth D. Cockrell; Kent V. Rominger is the pilot and the three mission specialists are Tamara E. Jernigan, Story Musgrave and Thomas D. Jones. At age 61, Musgrave becomes the oldest person ever to fly in space; he also ties astronaut John Young’s record for most number of spaceflights by a human being, and in embarking on his sixth Shuttle flight Musgrave has logged the most flights ever aboard NASA’s reusable space vehicle. The two primary payloads for STS-80 are the Wake Shield Facility-3 (WSF-3) and the Orbiting and Retrievable Far and Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer-Shuttle Pallet Satellite II (ORFEUS-SPAS II).
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