Columbia takes on fuel in test for liftoff Oct. 9

Technicans performed a fuel-loading test and mock countdown Sept. 15 of the space shuttle Columbia in the final major rehearsal before its scheduled Oct. 9 liftoff.

The test involved pumping more than 1.7 million pounds of supercold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen into the bullet-shaped tank bolted to the outside of the shuttle.

During the mock countdown, engineers said they would pay close attention to the workings of the ground launch sequencer -- an automated device that controls the countdown for the last nine minutes before liftoff.

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The October mission, the second flight of Columbia, is scheduled to last five days, taking astronauts Joe Engle and Richard Truly for 83 orbits.

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