Gallery 3 - Others
STS-96 was a Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS) flown by Space Shuttle Discovery, and the first shuttle flight to dock with the International Space Station.
The crew were, Astronaut Kent V. Rominger mission commander, Astronaut Rick D. Husband pilot, mission specialists Ellen Ochoa, Daniel T. Barry, Julie Payette, Valeriy I. Tokarev and Tamara Jernigan.
The shuttle carried the Spacehab module in the payload, filled with cargo for station outfitting.
STS-96 launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida on 27 May 1999 at 06:49.
The mission lasted 9 days, 19 hours, 13 minutes, 57 seconds, and the total distance travelled was 6,000,000 kilometres (3,700,000 mi).
The originally scheduled launch of Discovery on May 20 was postponed because of hail damage sustained May 8 by the external tank while on the pad. It was determined that some of the tank's foam insulation could not be reached for repairs with the orbiter on the pad. The orbiter was returned to the VAB, and inspections revealed more than 650 divots in the tank's outer foam. Workers repaired about 460 critical divots over four days to minimize ice formation prior to launch. The countdown proceeded smoothly, with the only concern the presence of a sailboat in the solid rocket booster recovery area. As planned, launch managers determined the exact orbital location of the International Space Station during the countdown's T-9-minute built-in hold. The decision was then made to launch Discovery at 6:49 a.m. EDT to achieve optimum shuttle system performance and to accommodate shuttle-space station docking activities.