STS-75 Day 13 Highlights
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- On Tuesday, March 5, 1996, 8 a.m. CST, STS-75 MCC Status Report # 23
- Aboard Columbia, crew members continue to work around the clock
investigating flame behavior in a controlled, microgravity
environment. Early today, a balky cooling system froze up again but
was cleared using the same procedure run a couple of days ago.
- The flash evaporator system core flush procedure was identical to the
one carried out on Saturday to melt ice and recover use of the
subsystem which is designed as a subtle method for dumping excess
water overboard without disrupting the experiments on board. The FE
also cools the freon used to keep orbiter and payload electronics at
- The unit was turned on to evaluate its operation with freon running at
a slightly higher temperature than usual to prevent ice formation in
the core. The test was conducted on one of two controllers for the
unit. A second test on the alternate controller may be conducted
- Columbia is scheduled to pass within 50 to 60 miles of the tethered
satellite at 10:25 this morning, just as the satellite enters orbital
sunrise. It is unclear whether the crew will be able to view the
satellite as it did several days ago.
- This morning, the astronauts took time out from science operations to
discuss the progress of the mission with reporters in the United
States and Europe.
- With an extra day on orbit for science operations, the seven
astronauts will continue work supporting the United States
Microgravity Payload experiments. The end of Columbia's 19th
mission is now scheduled for 6:19 a.m. central on Friday.
- Despite the intermittent freeze-up of the FES, the orbiter continues
to provide a stable environment for USMP operations. Columbia is in
an orbit 181 by 173 statute miles.
- On Tuesday, March 5, 1996, 6 a.m. CST, STS-75 Payload Status Report # 18
reports: (11/15:42 MET)
- Along with yesterday's decision to extend the third United States
Microgravity Laboratory (USMP-3) mission by one day to enhance science
return, the space science network also expanded with an historic first
for microgravity science. "This is the first time a principal
investigator has commanded a microgravity science instrument on the
Space Shuttle from his home institution -- a U.S. college campus,"
USMP-3 Program Scientist Dr. Steve Davison reported, referring to the
remote commanding of the Isothermal Dendritic Growth Experiment
- Dr. Martin Glicksman, of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
in Troy, N.Y., has the distinction of being that principal
investigator. Around 9:10 a.m. CST, one of Dr. Glicksman's team
members, who joined him from the NASA Lewis Research Center, sent a
command to their experiment in Columbia's cargo bay. That step began
a third science phase for the dendrites research team, to continue
studying how metal alloys solidify free from the convective flows
caused by Earth's gravity.
- Throughout the mission, the Rensselaer Operations Control Center
crew has been working hand-in-hand with their counterparts at the NASA
Marshall Space Flight Center's Spacelab Mission Operations Control to
analyze data produced by the IDGE experiment. Now, with RPI in the
driver's seat, the results of their first growth cycle became clear,
as the first dendrite of this operational phase emerged in record
time. The characteristics of these microscopic crystals help
determine the strength and flexibility of products such as automobile
engine blocks and jet engine turbine blades. The ultimate goal of the
IDGE investigation is to improve ground-based materials processing for
metals ranging from aluminum to steel.
- Another collaborative effort between NASA centers is the Advanced
Automated Directional Solidification Furnace (AADSF) investigation.
AADSF brings together a sophisticated Marshall- developed furnace for
growing semiconductor materials and a science team under the direction
of Principal Investigator Dr. Archie Fripp of NASA's Langley Research
- The three delicate lead-tin-telluride crystals that have been
successfully grown by AADSF during this mission are slated for
microscopic study when the samples are returned to Earth. Referring
to the detailed science support provided by the Spacelab Mission
Operations Control cadre, Dr. Fripp commented that his experiment
performed "flawlessly." "The pilot and crew put the Shuttle in the
proper attitudes required for sample processing and held them there,"
Fripp said. Monday afternoon, the high- temperature AADSF furnace was
cooled and prepared for landing on Friday.
- The Critical Fluid Light Scattering Experiment, known as ZENO, also
shows the value of cooperation between NASA, academia and industry.
Under the direction of Dr. Robert Gammon of the University of Maryland
in College Park, the ZENO team includes members of NASA's Lewis
Research Center and Ball Aerospace. As his research team moves to
within millionths of a degree of the point where the xenon sample will
exist simultaneously as a liquid and a gas, known as the critical
point, Dr. Gammon also complimented the work of the Spacelab Mission
Operations Control cadre. This special operations team works with the
orbiter crew to put the Shuttle in the best possible position for the
USMP-3 microgravity experiments. The basic science questions that the
Zeno investigation seeks to answer could improve chemical engineering
processes ranging from applying special paints to handling toxic
- The MEPHISTO investigation brings together nations working toward a
common goal, with their French Space Agency center in Toulouse,
France, and their NASA teams at the Marshall Center and the University
of Alabama in Huntsville all gathering data about crystal
solidification. "Most of the materials we use are formed by
solidification," explained MEPHISTO principal investigator Dr.
Jean-Jacques Favier. "This is true for semiconductors as well as
high-strength alloys." The Information Age has linked people from
around the world, and research conducted by the international MEPHISTO
team could lead to faster computers and more versatile metals.
- In the next 24 hours, combustion experiments in the Middeck Glovebox
will continue gathering more science than originally planned, as crew
members burn additional samples for the Radiative Ignition and
Transition to Spread Investigation. The Marshall- managed Glovebox
experiments are contributed by NASA's Lewis Research Center and the
National Institute for Standards and Testing. Meanwhile, the MEPHISTO
team plans to speed up one of their furnace's solidification cycles to
coincide with a Shuttle thruster firing to monitor its effect on their
- On Tuesday, March 5, 1996, 4 p.m. CST, STS-75 MCC Status Report # 24
- Columbia's astronauts had one last look at the Tethered Satellite
late this morning telling flight controllers they could see both the
satellite and the tether hanging beneath it.
- Lighting precluded a viewing opportunity during the point of closest
approach between the two spacecraft, but one orbit later the crew saw
and filmed TSS from a distance of about 450 nautical miles. The
videotape was played back for flight controllers on the ground this
afternoon. Today's pass of the satellite marks the final viewing
opportunity for the seven astronauts on board Columbia.
- Shortly before 7 p.m. central today, Franklin Chang-Diaz, Jeff
Hoffman and Claude Nicollier will participate in the final on-orbit
interview for the flight. The three crew members will discuss their
missions with both Univision and Telenoticias, the two largest
Hispanic television networks.
- Wednesday morning, Commander Andy Allen will attempt to make contact
with the crew of Atlantis on Launch Pad 39-B. STS-76 Commander Kevin
Chilton and the crew of the next Shuttle/Mir mission will be on board
Atlantis participating in a final dress rehearsal of their planned
March 21 launch.
- Columbia continues to provide a stable platform for the continuing
scientific investigations being conducted in the United States
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