Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off to deliver another space probe whose launch has been delayed in recent years, the Ulysses mission. The remnant of a more elaborate (but ultimately scrapped) International Solar Polar mission, Ulysses is the first and only shuttle payload to use a two-stage booster to launch it from Earth orbit into a high, looping trajectory out of the plane of the ecliptic (roughly corresponding to the sun’s equator, around which the solar system’s planets orbit). Ulysses, built and managed by the European Space Agency, promises the first views of the sun’s polar regions. Discovery’s crew is Commander Richard N. Richards, Pilot Robert Cabana, and mission specialists William Shepherd, Bruce Melnick and Thomas Akers. Discovery lands at Edwards Air Force Base after four days in orbit.
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