STS-78 Day 3 Highlights
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- On Saturday, June 22, 1996, 6:00 a.m. CDT, STS-78 MCC Status Report # 5
- With the Life and Microgravity Spacelab experiments relating to
bone-mass loss in mind, flight controllers in Houston awakened the
crew of Columbia with the song "Bad to the Bone" at 4:49 a.m. CDT.
Human physiology tests on STS-78 include the Direct Measurement of the
Initial Bone Response to Space Flight investigation, which scientists
hope to use to discover countermeasures for this detrimental effect of
space flight. The research also could lead to treatments for the
debilitating effects of the disease osteoporosis.
- As Spacelab experiments continue today, Commander Tom Henricks and
Payload Specialist Jean-Jacques Favier will set up the bicycle
ergometer on the middeck so that crew members can exercise their
cardiovascular systems. Henricks also will test a device designed to
permit voice control of shuttle closed circuit television, intended
for use on future missions when astronauts' hands are busy controlling
the robot arm.
- Henricks again will participate in a video teleconference as part of a
demonstration combining Shuttle communications and commercial
teleconferencing systems. Yesterday, he remotely commanded a small
camera mounted on the CAPCOM console to get a view of the flight
control team in Houston while talking with Spacecraft Communicator
Chris Hadfield. The demonstration should ultimately provide two-way
video, audio and interactive computer communication and application
sharing for the International Space Station.
- Columbia is continuing to provide a stable workshop for the biological
and materials science experiments, orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes
at an altitude of 170 miles in a gravity gradient attitude that
minimizes steering jet firings and disturbances to the microgravity
- On Saturday, June 22, 1996, 5:00 p.m. CDT, STS-78 MCC Status Report # 6
- Columbia's astronauts continued their work in the Spacelab module
today, as the oldest shuttle in the fleet continued to provide a
stable platform for what is planned to be two more weeks of
experiments and investigations into microgravity science.
- Late this morning, flight controllers assisted the astronauts in a
procedure to flush an ice blockage out of the Flash Evaporator System
(FES) which is used to dissipate heat from the shuttle. The procedure,
which runs warm freon through the FES, was successful and the system
is once again fully operational. To supplement the FES, flight
controllers also deployed one of two sets of radiators mounted on the
Shuttle's payload bay doors to further radiate heat from the orbiter.
- Commander Tom Henricks and Pilot Kevin Kregel tested a device designed
to permit voice control of the Shuttle closed circuit television
system. The Voice Command System should allow astronauts to command
the CCTV system verbally while performing other tasks. Kregel reported
that the system responded to at least 90% of his verbal commands.
- Late this afternoon, Henricks was scheduled to participate in a
video teleconference as part of a demonstration combining Shuttle
communications and commercial teleconferencing systems. Yesterday, he
remotely commanded a small camera mounted on the CAPCOM console to get
a view of the flight control team in Houston while talking with
Spacecraft Communicator Chris Hadfield. The demonstration should
ultimately provide two-way video, audio and interactive computer
communication and application sharing for the International Space
- On Saturday, June 22, 1996, 6:00 p.m. CST, STS-78 Payload Status Report # 03
reports: (002/06:44 MET)
- Human physiology studies onboard Columbia today entered the first of
two key periods for specialized types of measurements to understand
changes in the human sleep and performance patterns in space.
- In this first of two 72-hour time blocks during the Life and
Microgravity Spacelab Mission, the four payload crew members --
Dr. Jean-Jacques Favier, Dr. Robert Thirsk, Dr. Charles Brady and
Dr. Richard Linnehan -- embarked on a first-ever, comprehensive study
of sleep, 24-hour circadian rhythms and task performance in the
microgravity environment of space.
- Scientists hope to learn what happens to astronauts' sleep patterns
and their circadian clocks while in space. The study's principal
investigator, Dr. Timothy Monk of the University of Pittsburgh, said
the investigation is essential "if we are really going to do long-term
exploration in space. We have to know," he said, "what happens when we
remove ourselves from real-time cues."
- Astronauts orbiting Earth experience 16 sunrises and sunsets in a
24-hour period. This significantly affects their normal time
cues. Results of this study may also benefit people on Earth by
helping workers whose normal work and sleep schedules change as their
work shift changes.
- During the investigation, the four payload crew members wear a sleep
cap with electrodes that measure brain waves, eye movements and muscle
activity while they sleep.
- Four crew members -- Linnehan, Brady, Favier and Payload Commander
Susan Helms -- continued their participation today in the human
physiology musculoskeletal experiments. Linnehan, Brady and Favier
wore sensors for 24 hours, continuously monitoring their muscle
activity. They also performed right leg tests on the Torque Velocity
Dynamometer, a sophisticated exercise device that provides precise
measurements of muscle strength, power and endurance. This is one of
several studies on Columbia's Spacelab mission that are designed to
determine how spaceflight effects muscle size and strength.
- A special device which stimulates muscles electrically was used for
the first time during the mission today by Linnehan and Favier. They
attached the Percutaneous Electrical Muscle Stimulation electrodes to
their left legs, a means of applying precise electrical stimuli to
cause involuntary muscle contractions. Investigators are obtaining
information from the muscle contractions that will help them interpret
why muscle loses strength.
- An important space biology experiment began today when Payload
Commander Helms carefully bent 20 loblolly pine seedlings growing in
the Plant Growth Facility. When trees growing on Earth bend and then
right themselves, they form "reaction" wood which is structurally
inferior. Biologists will study the cellular structures of these
6-inch seedlings. They hope to learn how to prevent reaction wood
formation on Earth which could help the lumber and paper industry.
- Microgravity research again was the focus of scientific activity
overnight. A fluid physics experiment in the Bubble Drop and Particle
Unit produced results which may aid in understanding such fundamental
processes as evaporation and condensation.
- Dr. Johannes Straub of the University of Munich, who designed the
experiment, said results from this study may refine a long-standing
physics theory. In the test cell containing the experiment onboard
Columbia, a small heater emitted an electrical charge into a liquid
Freon supersaturated with gas, producing a single bubble by
boiling. For the investigation, scientists measure its development and
then reverse the process by increasing pressure to cause condensation
in which the gas bubble is redissolved into the liquid. Said Straub,
who is overseeing his experiment from the Marshall Space Flight Center
in Huntsville, Ala.: "Eventual applications of what is learned from
this basic study will benefit designers of power and chemical plants
and of air conditioners, among others."
- Also in the microgravity research area, processing of another
specialized material is under way in the high-temperature furnace.
Dr. Doru Stefanescu of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, who is
the principal investigator of the experiment, has a sample of pure
aluminum reinforced with zirconia particles that is being
processed. The experiment is designed to better understand the physics
of liquid metals containing ceramic particles as they solidify. It is
hoped the results will lead to improved materials processing on
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