STS-96 Space Shuttle Mission

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STS-96 (2nd International Space Station Flight)

Shuttle Used, Discovery
Launch Pad, Pad B
Mission Number, 94th Shuttle mission
Discovery Flights, 26th flight OV-103
KSC Landing, 47th KSC landing
Orbiter Preps (move to):

OPF - Nov. 7, 1998
VAB - April 15, 1999
Pad - April 23, 1999

Rollback due to hail damage

Return to VAB - May 16, 1999
Return to Pad - May 20, 1999


Kent V. Rominger, Commander (4th space flight)
Rick D. Husband, Pilot (1st)
Ellen Ochoa, Mission Specialist (3rd)
Tamara E. Jernigan, Mission Specialist (5th)
Daniel T. Barry, Mission Specialist (2nd)
Julie Payette, Mission Specialist, Canadian Space Agency (1st)
Valery Ivanovich Tokarev, Mission Specialist, Russian Space Agency (1st)


May 27, 1999, 6:49:42 a.m. EDT. 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.


June 6, 1999, 2:02:43 a.m. EDT, Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Rollout distance: 8,866 feet. Rollout time: 56 seconds.

Mission duration: nine days, 19 hours, 13 minutes, 57 seconds. Landed on orbit 154. Logged 3.8 million statute miles.

Landed on first opportunity at KSC, marking 18th consecutive landing in Florida and 25th in the last 26 missions.