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Many people gathered to watch Discovery's launch
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Images courtesy of NASA

STS-95 Launch: "Let the wings of Discovery lift us on to the future."
News story originally written on October 30, 1998

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at 2:19 p.m. EST, October 29th. The sky was clear and the weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit for the Unitied States' 123rd manned space mission.

Crowds of people turned out to watch as John Glenn returned to space for the second time in 36 years. People who watch shuttle launches regularly said that the crowd was a lot larger than during most recent shuttle launches. In addition to the people watching in person, the launch was covered live by many major broadcast stations as well as on different internet sites.

Discovery was scheduled to launch at 2 p.m. EST but was delayed for nine minutes when an alarm in the cockpit sounded. Once the countdown was resumed, had to be stopped again because a private airplane entered the restricted airspace around the launch site. An Air Force plane escorted the intrusive pilot out of the area.

There may have been one problem during the launch. NASA officials believe a panel struck one of the engines. The panel was possibly a door which was covering a drag chute used to slow the shuttle during landing. They believe that it is unlikely that the incident will affect the mission or the landing.

The crew for the nine-day mission consists of: Curtis L. Brown as commander; Steven W. Lindsey as pilot; Stephen K. Robinson, Scott E. Parazynski, and Pedro Duque as mission specialists; and Chiaki Mukai and Glenn as Payload Specialists.

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