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on July 23, 1999, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched into orbit with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory stored safely in its cargo bay. Just a few hours later, Chandra was released into deep space by the team led by Eileen Collins, the first female ever to command the Shuttle.
Since its launch, Chandra has been making history, not only for women in space, but in the field of astrophysics as a whole. With its spectacular mirrors and instrumentation, Chandra allows astronomers to observe X-rays from the universe as they never have before.
Having taken its place along with the Hubble Space Telescope and the now defunct Compton Gamma-ray Observatory in NASA's fleet of "Great Observatories," Chandra continues to dazzle and amaze scientists with its discoveries. Now beginning its third full year of observations, Chandra continues its journey into the realm of high-energy astrophysics where black holes, supernovas, and a host of other exotic cosmic phenomena rule.