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Third Try Is A Charm!!!

July 23, 1999 ::

Columbia lifting off
Shuttle Columbia lifting off from Launch Pad 39B at KSC.
Photo: NASA
Liftoff at 12:31:00:04 a.m. EDT - July 23, 1999 CAPE CANAVERAL :: "Ten, nine, eight, seven, six"- the crowd joins in with NASA Launch Commentator Lisa Malone's calm countdown - "five, four, THREE"- the main engines fire, sending a cloud of water vapor billowing outward- "TWO, ONE, LIFTOFF. WE HAVE LIFTOFF OF COLUMBIA. REACHING NEW HEIGHTS FOR WOMEN AND X-RAY ASTRONOMY". Shortly after liftoff, Columbia shone like the midday Sun, then streaked outward over the Atlantic and upward into space for its rendezvous with history. About twenty seconds later, a volcanic, 125 decibel roar rolled over the press site. By this time Columbia was traveling 514 miles per hour. When the main engines shut off eight and a half minutes after launch its speed was almost 17,000 miles per hour.

The awesome spectacle of Chandra's launch was a fitting reward for the hundreds of dedicated people who have worked and waited so long for this great telescope to start on its voyage of discovery.

"It's great to be back in zero-G again."
- Cmdr. Eileen Collins

W. & K. Tucker

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