STS-78 Day 5 Highlights
Back to STS-78 Flight Day 04 Highlights:
- On Monday, June 24, 1996, 6:00 a.m. CDT, STS-78 MCC Status Report # 9
- Microgravity research today aboard Columbia will concentrate on the
use of the gradient furnace and the Bubble Drop Particle Unit to study
materials processing, and on studies of human muscles and balance
- STS-78 crew members also will have opportunities to exercise and
contact friends and family members on the ground with the Shuttle
Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX).
- Late in the crew's day, Commander Tom Henricks and Pilot Kevin
Kregel will reassign one of the shuttle's five general purpose
computers (GPC) to run the backup flight software (BFS). The procedure
is designed to ensure that a fully functional backup computer will be
available during reentry and landing. The GPC assigned to run the BFS
software exhibited intermittent transients during the climb to orbit,
but is not affecting orbiter operations or mission duration.
- Flight controllers woke the crew at 4:08 a.m. CDT with the song
"Space Oddity," which mentions a fictitious astronaut named "Major
Tom." Tom Henricks is an Air Force colonel.
- On Monday, June 24, 1996, 6:00 p.m. CST, STS-78 Payload Status Report # 05
reports: (MET 004/07:00:00)
- The Canal and Otolith Integration Studies, experiments
which measure the effect of the weightless environment on the
vestibular system of the inner ear, occupied much of today's
work schedule for the four payload crew members aboard the
Space Shuttle Columbia. These studies examine the effects of
microgravity on the vestibular system of the inner ear and
the resulting changes in eye-hand-head coordination.
- Payload Commander Susan Helms, Mission Specialist Dr.
Richard Linnehan, and Payload Specialists Dr. Robert Thirsk
and Dr. Jean-Jacques Favier wore high-tech, modified ski
goggles which helped record their eye and head movements as
they tracked illuminated targets displayed on the goggles'
surface. The operations were conducted both while the crew
members remained in a fixed position seated on an exercise
bicycle, called an Ergometer, and when they were allowed to
free-float in the Spacelab cabin.
- Using these procedures, the crew members completed a series
of 17 objectives designed to test spatial orientation in the
absence of a gravitational reference.
- Also, Mission Specialist Dr. Charles Brady joined Thirsk,
Linnehan and Favier in conducting musculoskeletal tests that
measured arm and hand-grip strength. With their arms
strapped into the Torque Velocity Dynamometer -- which
resembles an arm or leg exercise machine found in many health
clubs -- the crew members curled and extended their arms at
the elbow while the machine provided resistance. The crew
members also participated in tests of their motor skills to
define how well specific muscle groups are performing after
an extended time in the microgravity environment.
- The crew completed the final hours of the first of two 72-
hour sleep study periods as part of the human sleep and
circadian study. This research is looking at how life in
space affects sleep patterns and mental alertness. The crew
members completed wake-up and end-of-shift questionnaires, as
well as alertness and mood tests before each meal and
throughout the day.
- Principal Investigator Dr. Timothy Monk of the University
of Pittsburgh said the study is critical to understanding
what happens when the body's biological clock is altered. As
with all the experiments, the sleep study has direct
relevance to life on Earth as sleep disorders are often
caused by shift-work changes and jet lag, Monk explained.
"And aging and depression are related to the clock going
wrong," he added.
- LMS Mission Program Scientist Dr. Victor Schneider said
today scientists and researchers "are very pleased with how
the crew is working with us to achieve the goals of this
- Schneider, of NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., said
previous life science studies have shown the types of
physiological changes that occur in spaceflight. But those
limited studies have not revealed the 'whys' of those
changes. With the LMS mission's comprehensiveness and
sophisticated level of capabilities, however, it is now
possible to move beyond and explore more fully the 'whys.'"
- In one major area of microgravity research being conducted
on this mission, investigators today looked to a
polycrystalline sample in the Advanced Gradient Heating
Facility for information on how to combine liquid metal alloy
components into a precise, well-ordered solid structure.
Knowledge gained from melting and resolidifying this compound
may help manufacturers to produce higher quality metal alloys
and semiconductor crystals. Principal Investigator Dr.
Thierry Duffar of the French Atomic Energy Commission of
Grenoble, France, and his team monitored and controlled this
experiment from Spacelab Operations in Huntsville, Ala. He
was in communication with his backup support group in France
during this experiment.
- On Monday, June 24, 1996, 5:00 p.m. CDT, STS-78 MCC Status Report # 10
- Scientific investigations continued today with Columbia providing a
trouble-free platform for the experiments housed in the Spacelab
module on Columbia's middeck.
- This afternoon, Mission Commander Tom Henricks and Pilot Kevin
Kregel successfully moved the backup flight software from its host
computer to a second computer in an effort to determine whether a
computer error early in the flight was due to software or
hardware. The astronauts reassigned the Backup Flight Software (BFS)
from General Purpose Computer 5 (GPC5) to GPC2. Following the
reassignment of the software, the data were dumped to the ground for
review and analysis by the flight control team. GPC 5 is in "freeze
dry" mode, which means although it is operating, it is not issuing any
commands. Flight controllers will watch GPC 5 and gather telemetry on
its operation over the next 48 hours.
- Henricks again participated in a demonstration of the two-way
teleconferencing system being flown on board Columbia. He was joined
by Payload Specialists Bob Thirsk and Jean-Jacques Favier who viewed
video of their June 20 launch from Kennedy Space Center. In the
flight control room, Spacecraft Communicator Chris Hadfield was joined
by members of the International Space Station Program Office to
observe the demonstration which has applications for use on both
Shuttle and Space Station missions.
- Payload Commander Susan Helms today congratulated the United States
Air Force Academy Class of 2000, due to start its four-year training
in just a few weeks. Helms also congratulated the Academy on the 20th
anniversary of the first class to include female cadets. Helms was a
member of that class of 1980, arriving at the Air Force Academy on
June 28, 1976. She graduated with a bachelor of science degree in
Go to STS-78 Flight Day 6 Highlights: