National Geographic News: Space Shuttle Columbia

National Geographic News:  Space Shuttle Columbia
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The crew exits the Operations and Checkout Building at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on their way to Launch Pad 39A for liftoff on January 16. Leading the way are Pilot William "Willie" McCool (left) and Commander Rick Husband (right). Following in the second row are Mission Specialists Kalpana Chawla (left) and Laurel Clark; in the rear are Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon, Payload Commander Michael Anderson and Mission Specialist David Brown.

Ramon was the first astronaut from Israel to fly on a Shuttle. The 16-day mission was devoted to research and included more than 80 experiments that studied Earth and space science, advanced technology development, and astronaut health and safety.

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Photograph courtesy NASA
 
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