STS-78 Day 2 Highlights
Back to STS-78 Flight Day 01 Highlights:
- On Friday, June 21, 1996, 7:00 a.m. CDT, STS-78 MCC Status Report # 3
- STS-78 Commander Tom Henricks told ground controllers this morning
that Columbia's "free fallers" are starting their first full day of
life science and microgravity experimentation with a great attitude.
- Henricks' comment followed a 4:49 a.m. CDT wake-up call featuring
one of his favorite songs, "Free Falling," sung by Tom Petty and
Heartbreakers. The term "free fallers" is used because the
microgravity conditions that are the basis of the flight's
investigations are possible because the shuttle is in a state of
perpetual free-fall around the Earth. More than 40 experiments being
conducted in the Spacelab module will look into the physiological
changes that take place in the human body during spaceflight and will
utilize the microgravity environment to study materials science
- Today, Henricks will work with the Bubble Drop Facility while Pilot
Kevin Kregel works at a computer workstation that assesses human
behavior changes during long-duration space flight. The scientists on
board, Rick Linnehan, Susan Helms, Chuck Brady, Jean-Jacques Favier
and Bob Thirsk will work with neurological and cardiovascular
- All systems aboard Columbia and in the Spacelab are performing well
as the orbiter circles the Earth every 90 minutes at an altitude of
170 miles. Columbia is in a gravity gradient attitude, with its tail
pointing to the ground and its belly facing in the direction of travel
so that the fewest possible thruster firings are needed to prevent the
sensitive microgravity experiments from being disturbed.
- On Friday, June 21, 1996, 5:00 p.m. CDT, STS-78 MCC Status Report # 4
- The STS-78 astronauts spent their first full day in orbit continuing
the scientific investigations housed in the Spacelab module and on
- Columbia continues to function well and activities by the flight
control team in Mission Control have focused mainly on assisting
investigators with the array of life and materials science experiments
being conducted on board.
- Late this afternoon, Payload Specialist Bob Thirsk replayed video of
some of the life science investigations conducted in the Spacelab
module, discussing the experiments and the data that will be provided
to ground-based researchers.
- The crew is scheduled to begin an eight-hour sleep period at 8:49
p.m. CDT today and will wake for the third day of the mission at 4:49
a.m. CDT Saturday. The crew will continue its work with the life and
microgravity science investigations shortly after 8 a.m. CDT Saturday.
- Columbia is in a 167 statute mile high circular orbit, completing a
revolution of Earth every hour and a half.
- On Friday, June 21, 1996, 6:30 p.m. CST, STS-78 Payload Status Report # 01
reports: (001/07:30 MET)
- Settling into the first full workday of their mission, the
seven-member crew of Space Shuttle Columbia have had a busy and
- As evident from live, televised views today, the Spacelab has been
transformed by the crew into an operational, sophisticated multi-use
research laboratory. The busy astronauts (each with individual,
specific tasks) could be seen floating over and beneath one another as
they went about their work in the Spacelab efficiently. That
space-borne laboratory, with a work area approximately 18 feet by 7
feet, houses most of the more than 40 diverse experiments aboard
Columbia. Those experiments are designed to examine the effects of
weightlessness on human beings, other organisms and various materials.
- Overnight, many of the microgravity science investigations were
begun, and today the first actual sample processing run was completed
in the area of materials research. In an experiment designed by
Dr. Denis Camel of the French Atomic Energy Commission in Grenoble,
France, a copper and aluminum alloy sample was placed in a high-
temperature furnace, called the Advanced Gradient Heating
Facility. Researchers will study the transition in solidifying metal
mixtures from ordered, long, column-like grains to unordered, round
grains. The experiment is designed to possibly improve processing of
metals on Earth.
- Television viewers today could also see, through a microscope
onboard Spacelab, an embryo of the Medaka fish. This hardy fish is
the focus of an experiment to help understand gravity's role in normal
animal development. Dr. Debra Wolgemuth of Columbia University
College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York is the principal
investigator for the experiment. The embryos are growing in the fully
automated cell culture system, called the Space Tissue Loss Module,
which was designed by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
- Today all of Columbia's crew began participating in life sciences
research. The payload crew wore sensors which continuously monitor
information 24-hours a day, measuring muscle performance and function.
This series of experiments is conducted in conjunction with the Torque
Velocity Dynamometer, a device much like exercise equipment, which
provides precise measurements of muscle use, including strength, the
amount of force produced and fatigue. These investigations are
designed to determine the effects of spaceflight on muscles.
- The four payload crew members today continued to provide blood,
saliva and other body samples for metabolic experiments designed to
understand the biochemical changes and effects of spaceflight on
humans. These specimens will allow measurement of calcium intake and
loss from the body, protein metabolism and caloric intake and use.
- Three crew members (Pilot Kevin Kregel, Commander Terence Henricks
and Payload Specialist Dr. Robert Thirsk) began a study to determine
the effects of spaceflight on mental skills that are critical to
performing tasks in space. Scientists want to determine how
information processing changes throughout the mission.
- The first of several tests of the Astronaut Lung Function Experiment
was performed. This investigation examines spaceflight's effects on
lung function and respiratory muscles during rest and heavy exercise.
The crew also set up the Gas Analysis System for Metabolic Analysis
Physiology, which measures the types and amount of air breathed in and
out. This investigation may lead to a better understanding of how
gravity affects the pulmonary system during exercise.
- Crew members today donned special head gear with a screen that
displays visual and motion targets. This is for a study examining
middle ear functions and head and eye movement in microgravity, called
the Canal and Otolith Integration Studies. The experiment could lead
to a better understanding of how people maintain their balance in
space and on Earth.
- Dr. Patton Downey of the Marshall Spaceflight Center, mission
scientist for the Life and Microgravity Spacelab Mission, said today
was "the busiest day of the mission because of the desire to make a
number of measurements regarding the crew's adjustment to the first
few days and hours of flight. This - plus the desire to check the
status of our other experiments' hardware" made this one of the
busiest days in space ever."
Go to STS-78 Flight Day 3 Highlights: