Kirsten Williams

Headquarters, Washington, DC

(Phone: 202/358-0243)

Joel Wells

Kennedy Space Center, FL

(Phone: 407/867-2468)

James Hartsfield

Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX

(Phone: 281/483-5111)

RELEASE: 99-141


NASA managers today set Saturday, Dec. 11, 1999, as the
launch date for NASA’s final Space Shuttle mission this
century. The 96th Space Shuttle mission will be highlighted
by four space walks to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

Discovery is scheduled to lift off from Launch Pad 39-B
at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL, at 12:13 a.m. EST, the
opening of a 38-minute launch window. Discovery’s planned 10-
day flight, designated Shuttle mission STS-103, is scheduled
to end with a night landing at Kennedy at about 9:21 p.m. EST
on Dec. 20.

Also dubbed Hubble Servicing Mission 3A, the flight will
feature an international crew of seven astronauts who will
replace the telescope’s six gyroscopes, a fine-guidance
sensor, a transmitter, a spare solid-state recorder and a
high-voltage/temperature kit for protecting the batteries
from overheating. In addition, the crew will install an
advanced computer that is 20 times faster and has six times
the memory of the current Hubble Space Telescope computer.

Discovery’s 27th flight will be commanded by Air Force
Col. Curt Brown, who will be flying for the sixth time. Navy
Lt. Commander Scott Kelly is serving as the pilot on his
first Shuttle mission. The five mission specialists for STS-
103 are: Steve Smith, who is serving as Payload Commander on
his third shuttle mission; Michael Foale, Ph.D., who is
making his fifth flight into space and who spent 4.5 months
aboard the Russian Mir Space Station; John Grunsfeld, Ph.D.,
who will be making his third space flight; Claude Nicollier
of the European Space Agency, who will fly for the fourth
time on the Shuttle; and Jean-Francois Clervoy of the
European Space Agency, who will be making his third trip
aboard the Shuttle.

– end –