Countdown for Longest Shuttle Mission Begins


The countdown began Monday for the launch of the longest-ever space shuttle mission.

The shuttle's cargo bay holds three ultraviolet telescopes the crew of five men and two women will aim at deep space for 15 1/2 days. The main goal of the mission is to detect and measure the intergalactic medium, an invisible cloud of hydrogen and helium from which galaxies, stars and planets formed.

U.S. Air Force weather forecasters said there is an 80% chance that weather at the space center would be too foul Thursday for the spacecraft to fly.

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