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December 2, 1999

Kirsten Williams
Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-0243)

Joel Wells
Kennedy Space Center, FL
(Phone: 407/867-2468)

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

Release: H99-141

Launch of Hubble Servicing Mission Set for December 11

NASA managers today set Saturday, Dec. 11, 1999, as the launch date for NASA's final Space Shuttle mission this century. The 96th Space Shuttle mission will be highlighted by four space walks to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

Discovery is scheduled to lift off from Launch Pad 39-B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, FL, at 12:13 a.m. EST, the opening of a 38-minute launch window. Discovery's planned 10-day flight, designated Shuttle mission STS-103, is scheduled to end with a night landing at Kennedy at about 9:21 p.m. EST on Dec. 20.

Also dubbed Hubble Servicing Mission 3A, the flight will feature an international crew of seven astronauts who will replace the telescope's six gyroscopes, a fine-guidance sensor, a transmitter, a spare solid-state recorder and a high-voltage/temperature kit for protecting the batteries from overheating. In addition, the crew will install an advanced computer that is 20 times faster and has six times the memory of the current Hubble Space Telescope computer.

Discovery's 27th flight will be commanded by Air Force Col. Curt Brown, who will be flying for the sixth time. Navy Lt. Commander Scott Kelly is serving as the pilot on his first Shuttle mission. The five mission specialists for STS-103 are: Steve Smith, who is serving as Payload Commander on his third shuttle mission; Michael Foale, Ph.D., who is making his fifth flight into space and who spent 4.5 months aboard the Russian Mir Space Station; John Grunsfeld, Ph.D., who will be making his third space flight; Claude Nicollier of the European Space Agency, who will fly for the fourth time on the Shuttle; and Jean-Francois Clervoy of the European Space Agency, who will be making his third trip aboard the Shuttle.


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