STS-73 Day 2 Highlights
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- On Saturday, October 21, 1995, 7 a.m. CDT, STS-73 MCC Status Report # 03
- Columbia's crew continued research work in the United States
Microgravity Lab-2 during the night uninterrupted by any problems with
- The Blue Team crew members -- Mission Specialists Mike Lopez-Alegria
and Cady Coleman and Payload Specialist Fred Leslie -- wrapped up
their first, full 12-hour shift in the lab at about 6:38 a.m. CDT.
During the last part of the Blue shift, new shuttle equipment being
carried aboard Columbia for the first time this mission that allows
television to be sent from the ground to the crew was tested. The
ground-to- air television test, which included live scenes from
Mission Control, appeared good onboard the shuttle, reported Columbia
Pilot Kent Rominger.
- The Red Team crew -- Commander Ken Bowersox, Rominger, Payload
Commander Kathy Thornton and Payload Specialist Al Sacco -- awoke from
their first night in orbit at about 3:53 a.m. CDT today and relieved
the Blue Team in the lab module this morning. The Red Team will remain
on duty until 6:53 p.m. CDT.
- Highlights of NASA Television today will include the Flight Day 2
Mission Update program airing at 11:30 a.m. CDT; a Mission Status
Briefing press conference at 1 p.m.; and an interview of the Red Team
by the Florida Radio Network at 5:58 p.m. CDT that may include
phone-in questions from listeners
- On Saturday, October 21, 1995, 2 p.m. CDT, STS-73 MCC Status Report # 04
- All systems aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia continue to work well
as the orbiter's seven member crew continues its microgravity work in
the United States Microgravity Lab-2 (USML-2).
- The Red Team crew -- Commander Ken Bowersox, Pilot Kent Rominger,
Payload Commander Kathy Thornton and Payload Specialist Al Sacco --
spent today in the lab module working on a variety of experiments and
tasks. The Red Team hands over its duties to the Blue Team at 6:53
p.m. today. The Blue Team crew - Mission specialists Mike
Lopez-Alegria and Cady Coleman, and Payload Specialist Fred Leslie --
then will take a turn in the lab. The Blue Team's shift ends at
6:38 a.m. Sunday.
- The first in-flight special event is scheduled for 5:58 p.m. CDT
today when available crew members talk to Alan McBride of the Florida
Radio Network. The event will be audio only.
- On Saturday, October 21, 1995 at 6 a.m. CDT, STS-73 Payload Status Report # 02
reports: (0/21:07 MET)
- The second United States Microgravity Laboratory's "blue
team" -- Mission Specialists Mike Lopez-Alegria and Cady
Coleman, and Payload Specialist Fred Leslie -- spent a busy
first shift putting more of the mission's microgravity
experiments into operation.
- Alegria activated the Protein Crystallization Apparatus for
Microgravity experiments located in two Shuttle middeck
lockers. During USML-2, the experiments will grow more than
800 protein crystals -- six times the number normally
accommodated in the same space. Principal Investigator Dr.
Dan Carter of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center who has
flown the apparatus on several Shuttle missions has grown
protein crystals with enhanced internal order.
- Because a protein's structure determines its function,
researchers analyze the improved crystals to understand the
structure in greater detail. For instance, a number of
pharmaceutical companies have samples in USML-2 protein
crystal growth facilities. Improved crystals will aid their
design of new drugs. The superior crystals grown in space
contribute insights that otherwise might not have been
possible, despite huge investments in ground-based research.
- Another USML-2 protein facility, the University of Alabama
at Birmingham's Commercial Protein Crystal Growth vapor
diffusion apparatus, had experienced somewhat elevated
temperatures yesterday due to warmer than normal crew cabin
temperatures after launch. After the cabin cooled, the
temperature in the refrigerated incubator was down to about
40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.5 degrees Celsius), well within
- Coleman spent the first portion of her shift activating more
of the biological samples in NASA's Commercial Generic
Bioprocessing Apparatus. The facility, managed by Bioserve
Space Technologies at the University of Colorado in Boulder,
is a generic research tool for a wide variety of life-science
experiments. Subjects range from molecules and cells to tiny
organisms. Groups of eight syringe-like fluid containers are
packaged together so they can be activated simultaneously by
turning a crank on the pack.
- Leslie's first major assignment was loading six samples into
the Marshall Center's Crystal Growth Furnace, a multi-user
facility for growing crystals of semiconducting material,
metals and alloys. Crew members also installed a flexible
glovebox atop the furnace, which they will use later in the
mission to remove crystallized samples and replace them with
new sample cylinders. An automatic sample exchanger within
the furnace allows ground controllers to command processing
of multiple crystals in sequence, freeing the Spacelab crew
for other duties.
- Just after midnight, Crystal Growth Furnace team members
began vapor crystal growth of their first semiconductor
sample, a mercury cadmium telluride compound provided by Dr.
Heribert Wiedemeier of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
in Troy, New York. Wiedemeier is examining the initial phase
of vapor crystal growth in a complex alloy semiconductor.
The vapor transport method deposits layers, or thin films, of
mercury cadmium telluride on a cadmium telluride substrate,
or base. The material is used in infrared detectors for
products such as cancer detection devices and the military's
- Wiedemeier's analysis of the mercury cadmium telluride
crystal he grew during USML-1 revealed new information about
how microgravity affects formation of the initial layer on
the substrate. His USML-2 experiment zeros in on that stage
of growth, which determines the atomic arrangement of the
entire crystal and thus the ultimate quality of the material.
- Later, Coleman checked out power, lighting, ventilation and
video in the versatile Glovebox facility, provided by the
European Space Agency. The transparent enclosure, which also
flew on USML-1, is a self-contained work area for experiment
handling and observation that protects against possible
contamination of the Spacelab environment. USML-2 crew
members will use the Glovebox for seven investigations,
several of which will enhance other mission experiments.
The Spacelab crew then turned their attention to the Lewis
Research Center's Surface Tension Driven Convection
Experiment, another facility returning after a USML-1 debut.
The apparatus allows investigators to view in great detail
the basic fluid mechanics and heat transfer of
thermocapillary flows, motions created within fluids by non-
uniform heating of their free surfaces. Though masked by
gravity in ground-based processing, such flows during melting
and resolidifying can create defects in high-tech crystals,
metals, alloys and ceramics. Leslie installed the facility's
infrared imager, video cassette recorder, and the first test
module. Coleman then checked out the video system, which
allows ground controllers to see how changes in heating and
surface shape affect flows within the fluid.
- During the upcoming shift, Payload Specialist Al Sacco will
work with his Glovebox Zeolite Crystal Growth experiment, and
Payload Commander Kathy Thornton will start up the Drop
Physics Module. Initial operations for the Geophysical Fluid
Flow Cell Experiment are scheduled for later this afternoon.
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