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30 Years Ago: STS-65 Lifts Off

Space shuttle Columbia lifts off from the launchpad, heading upward through the partly cloudy blue sky. A conical spray of fire comes out from the bottom of the spacecraft. It is the brightest thing in the image. Below that, clouds of vapor spread out horizontally across the pad. In the foreground are some green plants.

The space shuttle Columbia launches from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 8, 1994. This was the second flight of International Microgravity Laboratory (IML-2), carrying more than twice the number of experiments and facilities as IML-1. The crew split into two teams to perform around-the-clock research. More than 80 experiments, representing more than 200 scientists from six space agencies, were in the Spacelab module. Fifty of these experiments delved into life sciences, including bioprocessing, space biology, human physiology, and radiation biology.

STS-65’s crew included NASA astronauts Robert D. Cabana, James D. Halsell Jr., Richard J. Hieb, Carl E. Walz, Leroy Chiao, and Donald A. Thomas, as well as National Space Development Agency (NASDA) of Japan astronaut Chiaki Naito-Mukai. On this flight, Naito-Mukai became the first Japanese woman in space.

Image Credit: NASA