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June 1, 2011
The Space Shuttle Columbia lifts off from Launch Pad 39B, at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), to begin a scheduled 16-day mission in Earth-orbit in support of the United States Microgravity Laboratory (USML-2). Five NASA astronauts and two scientists from the private sector were onboard. Liftoff occurred at 9:53:00 a.m. (EDT) on October 20, 1995. The mission represents the 72nd Space Shuttle flight for NASA. The crew will be working around the clock on a diverse assortment of USML-2 experiments located in a science module in Columbia's cargo bay. Fields of study include fluid physics, materials science, biotechnology, combustion science and commercial space processing technologies. The crew is made up of astronauts Kenneth D. Bowersox, commander; Kent V. Rominger, pilot; Kathryn C. Thornton, payload commander; Michael E. Lopez-Alegria and Catherine G. Coleman, both mission specialists; along with Fred W. Leslie and Albert Sacco Jr., payload specialists.