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June 15, 2011
This 70mm frame shows the Chandra X-Ray observatory, backdropped against a desert area in Namibia, just before its release from Columbia's payload bay. The primary duty of the STS-93 crew was to deploy the world's most powerful X-Ray telescope. It was also one of the first actions of the astronauts, occurring just a few hours following the shuttle's arrival in Earth orbit. This scene is one of a series of still photos recorded by the crew before and during the deployment of the 50,162 pound observatory.

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