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A photo of the flight crew taken earlier this month. The crew is standing in front of the Shuttle Discovery (with its new lightweight external tank). From left to right, they are Pilot Dominic Gorie; Mission Specialists Franklin Chang-Diaz, Ph.D.; Wendy B. Lawrence and Janet Kavandi, Ph.D.; Mission Commander Charles Precourt; and Mission Specialist Valery Ryumin, with the Russian Space Agency.
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Image courtesy of NASA

A New ET! Updated!
News story originally written on June 3, 1998

The shuttle Discovery lifted off yesterday at 6:06 p.m. EDT. This launch featured a new ET. Not a new extra-terrestrial, but a new external tank!

This new ET looks like the old external tanks, but it weighs 7,500 pounds less. This loss of weight means that the shuttle can carry that much more cargo. This will be especially important when the shuttle begins transport of the new International Space Station.

During its ten-day mission, Discovery will dock with space station Mir. Here, Andy Thomas will come onboard the shuttle for his ride home to Earth. Thomas has been a NASA resident on Mir since January. He is the last American to stay aboard the Russian space station.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA