STS-78 Day 8 Highlights
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- On Thursday, June 27, 1996, 7:00 a.m. CDT, STS-78 MCC Status Report # 15
- Life and Microgravity Spacelab experiments are continuing today as
Columbia's astronauts document how space flight is affecting their
minds and bodies.
- Work will concentrate on sessions at the Human Behavior Workstation,
which measures the ability of the astronaut to respond to changes in
his or her environment. The crew will also conduct investigations with
the Astronaut Lung Function Experiment, to measure the effects of
microgravity and heavy exercise on pulmonary capability, and the
Torque Velocity Dynamometer, which measures leg muscle strength.
- The seven STS-78 astronauts were awakened shortly before 3 AM Central
time today to the sound of "Every Breath You Take, Every Move You
Make" by Police -- played in honor of the Lung Function experiment and
the flight controllers in Mission Control overseeing what is expected
to be the longest Shuttle flight in history. A decision by mission
managers to extend the flight to 17 days for additional science will
likely be made over the weekend after consultations with payload
managers at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama
and a review of Shuttle systems.
- Payload Commander Susan Helms is scheduled to be interviewed by KNX
Radio in Los Angeles at 8:59 a.m. Central time and Commander Tom
Henricks and Payload Specialist Jean-Jacques Favier will participate
in an educational discussion of the mission's scientific aspects with
French students at a Paris technical school at 2:39 p.m.
- Columbia again is orbiting with its tail to the Earth to minimize
disturbance to the microgravity experiments. There are no problems
being tracked aboard the oldest orbiter in the Shuttle fleet.
- On Thursday, June 27, 1996, 5:00 p.m. CDT, STS-78 Payload Status Report # 08
reports: (MET 007/07:00:00)
- As the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia today entered its second
week in space, the seven crew members conducted experiments primarily
focusing on the effects of weightlessness on human physiology.
Results from the studies of muscle activity, performance and sleep
will help future mission planners organize crew schedules for greater
efficiency and productivity.
- The crew continued the Astronaut Lung Function Experiment extensively
today. Payload Commander Susan Helms, Mission Specialists Dr. Richard
Linnehan and Dr. Charles Brady, and Payload Specialist Dr. Robert
Thirsk all took part in the experiment, headed by Dr. John West of the
University of California in San Diego. The experiment may lead to a
better understanding of how gravity affects the pulmonary system
during rest and heavy exercise. According to the experiment's
co-investigator, Dr. G.K. Prisk, also of the University of California
in San Diego, today's lung investigations followed "excellent runs"
Wednesday by Shuttle Commander Tom Henricks and Pilot Kevin Kregel.
- For a second consecutive day, Henricks, Kregel, Thirsk and Payload
Specialist Dr. Jean-Jacques Favier continued to enter responses to a
battery of problem-solving tasks on the laptop computer Performance
Assessment Work Station. Information from the almost-daily tests of
the crew's mental function abilities will be used to create future
crew schedules, taking advantage of peak mental performance periods.
This morning Brady, Linnehan and Favier moved into a second
consecutive day of musculoskeletal experiments on the Torque Velocity
Dynamometer. They completed a series of left leg exercises while
sensors monitored muscle activity. Crew members have used the
dynamometer throughout the mission to measure how spaceflight affects
arm and leg strength, power and endurance.
- One of the life sciences experiments, tracing development of fish
embryos, will conclude during Friday's crew shift. Thirty-six Medaka
embryos -- a hardy fish embryo known to tolerate reduced temperatures
well -- have been developing in the Space Tissue Loss Module onboard
Columbia. Crew members have frequently monitored videos of the
embryotic development, which has been simultaneously viewed by
researchers on Earth. The goal of this experiment is to determine
gravity's role in normal development.
- Today, LMS Mission Scientist Dr. Patton Downey of the Marshall Center
said the "ultimate results of this experiment will depend on analysis
of the samples after the flight." But based on information gathered
from the video transmissions, said Downey, "it appears that the
samples in orbit are developing at a slower rate than the
ground-controlled samples." That preliminary analysis, said Downey,
"indicates that gravity is an important factor in the development
process. One of the biggest mysteries in science is how you start from
one cell and develop different types of structures and tissues. This
experiment indicates that gravity may be an important factor in this
- Two experiments continued today, in the microgravity sciences area, on
the movements and interaction between pairs of bubbles and drops in
liquids. This morning crew members removed an experiment from the
Bubble, Drop and Particle Unit which began Wednesday afternoon that
consisted of injecting drops of Fluorinet into silicone oil.
Principal Investigator Dr. R.S. Subramanian of Clarkson University in
Potsdam, N.Y., then elected to schedule a second one-day run of his
investigation that injects inert gas bubbles into silicone oil.
Subramanian said his fluid physics experiment may help uncover
processes involving gas bubbles, liquid drops or liquid layers. He
said this research could lead to new high- strength metals and
temperature-resistant glasses and ceramics.
- On Wednesday a team of engineers and scientists at the Marshall Space
Flight Center's Payload Crew Training Complex practiced an in-flight
maintenance procedure on a model of the Bubble Drop Unit. The
practice procedure was designed to route around a shorted cable in
that unit. Tonight, a video of the ground practice is to be uplinked
to Columbia before the crew begins its sleep period. Maintenance on
the unit is now scheduled to be performed by the crew on Friday.
- Teams of scientists and researchers on the ground at Marshall Center
and other sites around the world continue their 24-hour observation
and monitoring of the more than 40 experiments aboard Columbia. On
previous Spacelab missions, most of the principal researchers for
onboard experiments gathered at a central location. But for this
mission, principal remote sites are operating in the United States,
Belgium, France and Italy -- all are linked to the Marshall Center by
a sophisticated teleconferencing network.
- At Marshall Center for this mission, Dr. Graham Biddis of the European
Space Agency, who serves as operations engineer for the Advanced
Gradient Heating Facility, is helping to oversee an international
group of researchers. "We have a multi-national team and we are
working extremely well together," said Biddis. "I am pleased with the
successful communication and cooperation among the international
teams." This world-wide cooperative effort foreshadows similar
science operations that are planned for the future International Space
- On Thursday, June 27, 1996, 6:00 p.m. CDT, STS-78 MCC Status Report # 16
- With another day of scientific investigation behind them, Columbia's
astronauts were set to begin an eight-hour sleep period at 6:19 this
- The crew continued its work in the Spacelab module today measuring
changes in muscle strength and lung capacity, and working on a Human
Behavior Workstation that measured their ability to respond to changes
in their external environment.
- Mission Specialist Chuck Brady held an unlit Olympic Torch aloft while
exercising on the bicycle ergometer in the Spacelab today. He was
joined by his crewmates on board in that informal salute to the 1996
Olympics which open July 19 in Atlanta.
- Also this morning, Payload Commander Susan Helms discussed the STS-78
mission in an interview with KNX Radio in Los Angeles. In the
afternoon, science students in Paris, France asked questions of French
Payload Specialist Jean-Jacques Favier and Mission Commander Tom
- Late in the crew's day, flight controllers in Mission Control Houston
and investigators in the Spacelab Operations Control Center in
Huntsville, Alabama, used a videoteleconferencing system on Columbia
to demonstrate a maintenance procedure on the Bubble Drop and Particle
Unit experiment. The system allowed the crew and ground controllers
to view a videotape of the procedure and discuss each step with each
other as they worked through the procedure.
- The astronauts will awaken to begin Flight Day 9 at 2:19 Friday
morning. Columbia again is orbiting with its tail to the Earth to
minimize disturbance to the microgravity experiments. There are no
problems being tracked aboard the orbiter.
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