STS-78 Day 4 Highlights
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- On Sunday, June 23, 1996, 7:00 a.m. CDT, STS-78 MCC Status Report # 7
- Columbia's astronauts are continuing work this morning with the human
physiology and materials science experiments of the Life and
Microgravity Spacelab mission.
- Today's research will concentrate on measurements of leg and arm
muscle power with the Torque Velocity Dynamometer, pulmonary function
with the Astronaut Lung Function Experiment and effects of
microgravity exercise with the bicycle ergometer and its associated
- Crew members will work several small in-flight maintenance procedures,
including the replacement of a blown fuse in the Bubble Drop Particle
Unit and will attempt to adjust a balky door on the Thermoelectric
Holding Module, which maintains samples at the correct temperatures.
- In addition, Commander Tom Henricks, Pilot Kevin Kregel and Mission
Specialists Rick Linnehan and Susan Helms will be interviewed by CNN
at 10:04 a.m. Central time.
- The crew's day began at 4:24 AM Central time with a 1980 rendition of
"Flight of the Bumblebee" as played by the U.S. Air Force Academy's
Drum and Bugle Corps. Helms, a cadet at the Air Force Academy at the
time, played xylophone on the recording.
- Overnight, one of two sets of radiators mounted inside the Shuttle's
payload bay doors remained deployed to help dissipate excess heat. The
radiator was deployed before the crew went to sleep Saturday night
after an ice blockage temporarily hindered the operation of the Flash
Evaporator System (FES), also used as a Shuttle cooling system. The
FES resumed full function after the ice was flushed using warm freon.
- On Sunday, June 23, 1996, 5:00 p.m. CDT, STS-78 MCC Status Report # 8
- In addition to continuing work in the Spacelab module, Columbia's crew
today also spent time sharing the progress of its mission with a
- The astronauts discussed the flight during an interview with the Cable
News Network this morning and Payload Commander Susan Helms took time
this afternoon to speak with students at Eisenhower Middle School in
San Antonio, Texas. The school has a "Young Astronaut Program" that
has had students launch a model rocket to an altitude of 15,000 feet,
and have assembled a permanent amateur satellite station.
- Late in the afternoon, Commander Tom Henricks replayed a video taken
earlier in the day of Mission Specialists Chuck Brady and Rick
Linnehan and Payload Specialist Jean- Jacques Favier as they prepared
to begin their fourth day on orbit. Henricks also shared video of his
work with the Performance Assessment Workstation. PAWS uses a pre-
programmed laptop computer to test the astronaut's response to a
variety of information and images to provide data on how critical
thinking skills may be affected by the microgravity environment of
space, or by long hours and shift work for people on Earth.
- On Sunday, June 23, 1996, 6:00 p.m. CST, STS-78 Payload Status Report # 04
reports: (MET 003/08:00:00)
- During their third work day the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia
resumed experiments focusing on human physiology studying the effects
of microgravity on areas such as muscle and circadian rhythms.
- The circadian studies focus on how living in space affects sleep
patterns and mental and physical functions. A series of performance
and mood tests, which the crew took using a laptop computer assessed
the quality of their sleep last night. Mission Specialists Charles
Brady and Dr. Richard Linnehan, and Payload Specialists Dr. Robert
Thirsk and Dr. Jean-Jacques Favier participated in the experiment.
- A related experiment, conducted daily, that studies the effects of
spaceflight on the thought processes was also performed. The crew
members participated in mental exercises, which show the speed and
accuracy of their responses to rotated letters, math problems, letter
sequences and rotated images. One of the harder challenges in the
tests for the crew is rapidly switching attention between two
tasks. The results of this study will help researchers to determine
levels of mental fatigue and alertness.
- Early this morning, a team of scientists in the Spacelab
Mission Operations Control Center at the Marshall Space
Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., monitored and controlled
an experiment in the Bubble Drop Particle Unit.
- This study, lead by principal investigator Dr. Antonio
Viviani of Italy's Second University of Naples, looks at the
surface tensions and interactions of gasses and liquids in
the weightlessness of space. Various sized air bubbles are
injected into a water-and-alcohol solution with temperature
graduations ranging from hot to cold. From this
investigation, researchers hope to learn how to control
defects in many aspects of materials manufacturing. This
could lead to production of better and stronger metals,
alloys, glasses and ceramics.
- Later today, Favier installed a test container into the
Bubble, Drop and Particle Unit for a fluid processing
experiment designed to monitor the flows of individual liquid
components induced by surface tension-driven convection. The
understanding of this process is important for manufacturing.
Dr. Jean-Claude Legros of Belgium's Microgravity Research
Center at the Free University of Brussels is principal
investigator of the study.
- A component of the unit is having a problem that limits its
operation. Troubleshooting of the unit is planned for later
in the mission. Meanwhile, researchers continue to use the
facility to conduct experiments unaffected by the problem.
Participation in the Astronaut Lung Function Exercise
experiment continued today. The container supplying oxygen
for one part of the experiment was found to be only partially
full. The astronaut continued that part of the experiment
until the oxygen container was empty. The rest of that
experiment is continuing as planned.
- Favier, Thirsk and Brady continued tests in the mission's
important musculoskeletal experiments. Crew members, who
continuously wear sensors to monitor their muscle activity,
performed a number of exercises today on a complex device
called the Torque Velocity Dynamometer. The device provides
precise measurements of muscle strength, power and endurance.
In the high-temperature furnace, called the Advanced
Gradient Heating Facility, processing concluded for an
experiment involving solidification of pure aluminum
containing zirconia particles. The experiment "went
"perfectly," said principal investigator Dr. Doru Stefanescu
of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He and his
research team monitored experiment progress from the Spacelab
Mission Operations Control Center. This experiment, said
Stefanescu, "may lead to more inexpensive ways to make
mixtures of metals and ceramics -- particularly for the metal
casting industry. We hope to find ways to help manufacturers
make composite products with superior quality."
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