MSL-1 Science Team Ready after a perfect Launch
July 1, 1997, 2:30 p.m. CDT
Despite a threat of bad weather, the reflight of the first Microgravity Sciences Laboratory (MSL-1) got off to a picture-perfect start Tuesday afternoon.
With shuttle Columbia safely in orbit, the MSL-1 payload crew now can resume experiments that were cut short by a fuel cell problem during the first flight in April.
Launch was delayed by 12 minutes to 1:02 p.m. CDT even after launch officials moved the schedule ahead by 47 minutes to avoid threatening weather.
Eagerness to go was reflected in a cartoon stuck to the side of the mission scientist's console in Spacelab mission operation control here at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The cartoon showed the Shuttle covered by an umbrella as it sat on the launch pad.
"I don't care," said a voice from inside, "just push the button."
The weather cooperated and from main engine ignition through external tank separation, the Shuttle worked perfectly.
"Well, now we get to go to work," said mission scientist Mike Robinson as he heard the crew call out that the tank had safely separated and Mission Control replied that Columbia was on its way to the correct orbit.
Science operations start Tuesday evening as the payload crew activates MSL-1 and starts the various experiment facilities. Science updates will be posted to the SSL web site each morning.
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