Kennedy News

Kyle Herring
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1874)

George Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Florida
(Phone: 321/867-2468)

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Jan. 9, 2003
RELEASE : FRR-03
Columbia to Launch Jan. 16 on International Research Flight
At the conclusion of the STS-107 Flight Readiness Review today at the Kennedy Space Center, managers targeted Space Shuttle Columbia for launch Jan. 16 on an international mission devoted to space research, the first dedicated research mission to be flown by the shuttle in almost three years.

Pending resolution of continuing engineering analysis of support assemblies in the shuttle propellant lines, Columbia will launch between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. EST on the 16-day flight. A precise launch time will be announced about 24 hours before liftoff. The engineering analysis of ball strut tie rod assemblies, resulting from a crack found in an assembly on Discovery, is expected to be completed early next week.

"Many people worldwide have worked long and hard to prepare for this mission," Space Shuttle Program Manager Ron Dittemore said. "This flight will again showcase the versatility of the space shuttle as an orbiting research platform, returning the orbiter to a role it knows well, but has not played in some time."

Columbia will carry in its payload bay the first SPACEHAB Research Double Module, a pressurized environment accessible to the crew. The module and the shuttle’s middeck will hold most of the mission’s more than 80 experiments - involving more than 70 scientists worldwide - that will investigate space, life and physical sciences.

Rick Husband (Col., USAF) will command Columbia. William McCool (Cmdr., USN) will serve as pilot. Payload commander will be Michael Anderson (Lt. Col., USAF). Mission specialists will include David Brown, M.D. (Capt., USN), Kalpana Chawla (Ph.D.) and Laurel Clark, M.D. (Cmdr., USN). Payload specialist Ilan Ramon (Col., Israel Air Force), the first Israeli astronaut, will complete the crew. The 24-hour science operations will be divided into two alternating shifts. Husband, Chawla, Clark and Ramon form the Red Team, while McCool, Brown and Anderson are the Blue Team.

Columbia is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Feb. 1. STS-107 will be the 28th flight for Columbia and the 113th in shuttle history.

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