Success Second Time Around

Myers' words were summing-up the entire mission, which was turning out to be far more productive than scientists had ever imagined. In total, 206 fires were set, more than 700 protein crystals were grown and a variety of fluid physics and combustion experiments were conducted in the Middeck Glovebox (MGBX). A record 35,000 telecommands were relayed to the Spacelab research facilities from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, prompting Mission Scientist Mike Robinson to tell journalists that ''if you walk around the science operations area, there are a lot of smiles!''

Although Columbia had enough consumables for a 17-day mission, no formal request to extend STS-94 was made, and early on 17 July Halsell and Still performed their de-orbit burn to bring her home. Leaving an orange streak across the clear Floridian skies, she settled onto Runway 33 at 10:46:36 am, wrapping up a mission just eight hours short of a full 16 days. The crew were elated at their success - ''As much as the other one was a bummer, this is a real trip!'' Crouch told journalists -but glad to be home after two weeks away from loved ones.

''The opportunity is great,'' said Jim Halsell, ''and it's the opportunity to appreciate some of the things you've missed [and] some of the people that you love and you look forward to seeing again in the near future.'' He paid particular tribute to Columbia, which ''performed absolutely flawlessly'' for his crew. ''Days have gone by'', he told journalists during a space-to-ground news conference, ''without having to do an 'error log reset', which is our way of saying there have just been no problems whatsoever. Our flavour for this flight is that it has done what [it] set out to do.''

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