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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 on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd manned space mission.

A huge crowd came to watch John Glenn return to space for the second time in 36 years. People who regularly watch shuttle launches said that the crowd was a lot larger than most recent launches. In addition to the people watching in person, the launch was covered live by many major broadcast stations.

Discovery was scheduled to launch at 2 p.m. EST but was delayed for a total of nineteen minutes: once when a cockpit warning alarm sounded and once when a private pilot violated the restricted airspace around the launch site.

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 covers a parachute which is used to slow the stuttle during landing. They don't think that this incident will cause any problems with 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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