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STS93-S-009 (23 July 1999) --- The Space Shuttle Columbia lifts off from Launch Pad 39B to begin the five-day STS-93 mission. After two unsuccessful attempts earlier in the week, liftoff occurred at 12:31 a.m. (EDT), July 23, 1999. Only hours after this picture was taken, the five-member crew released the Chandra X-Ray Observatory into orbit. Onboard were astronauts Eileen M. Collins, first woman shuttle mission commander; Jeffrey S. Ashby, pilot; and Steven A. Hawley, Catherine G. Coleman and Michel Tognini, all mission specialists. Tognini represents the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) of France.
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