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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.

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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.

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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