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Launch

Discovery launched at 1:19 p.m. CST, October 29, 1998, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39-B.

Profile The space shuttle's launch profile takes it from a vertical position on the launch pad to an average orbit altitude of 185 statute miles in just 8 minutes, utilizing three extremely powerful, reusable main engines and two reusable solid rocket boosters, the largest solid-propellant motors ever flown. Along the way, the solid rockets and the external tank that carries fuel for the main engines are jettisoned. The SRB casings are refurbished and reused; the external tank burns up during reentry. Here, you'll find a detailed explanation of the launch profile.

Real-Time Data Flight controllers in NASA's Mission Control Center monitor thousands of parameters of data on the performance of the shuttle and its systems during the launch phase. Here are several streams of telemetry downlinked directly from the shuttle and seen much as flight controllers see them.

Ground Support Support teams at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, launch site and the Johnson Space Center Mission Control Center work as a team to ready the shuttle for launch and monitor its ascent to orbit. These highly trained scientists and engineers "look over the shoulders" of the astronauts on board. Each team member has a specific area of responsibilities and duties to fulfill to ensure a safe, successful space flight. Here, you can look over their shoulders.

Orbiter Thousands of space shuttle systems and subsystems, the product of decades of research and development by thousands of scientists and engineers, come into play during the launch phase of flight. Here are details about how the machine and its crew work together to reach low-Earth orbit.

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Curator: Kim Dismukes
Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty
Updated: 29 Oct 1998

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