STS-78 Day 9 Highlights
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- On Friday, June 28, 1996, 7:00 a.m. CDT, STS-78 MCC Status Report # 17
- Columbia's astronauts are continuing to serve as test subjects for a
host of human health and microgravity investigations today as the
STS-78 Life and Microgravity Spacelab mission nears the halfway point.
- Today's tests will concentrate on measurements of lung capacity and
muscle strength. In addition, the crew will continue its work to
operate and maintain the experiment equipment, with two more in-flight
maintenance procedures scheduled to bring the Bubble Drop Particle
Unit back to full operation.
- The crew also performed a second successful procedure to flush a small
buildup of ice from orbiter's Flash Evaporator cooling system after
the ice formed during a dump of the supply water tanks. The procedure,
which ran warm freon through the cooling system took about 20 minutes
to complete and had no impact on science operations. Otherwise,
Columbia's systems are trouble-free.
- Commander Tom Henricks, Payload Commander Susan Helms and Mission
Specialists Rick Linnehan and Chuck Brady participated in an interview
with KABC-TV in Los Angeles early this morning to discuss the progress
of their mission.
- Henricks will also offer best wishes to four engineers at Johnson
Space Center who are involved in a test of renegerative life support
systems which may be used for future space travel. The four test
subjects are living in a specially equipped chamber at JSC to gather
data on recycled air and water for three weeks. The test is scheduled
to end July 12.
- Columbia's seven astronauts were awakened shortly before 2:30 AM
Central time to "Carolina in My Mind," by James Taylor. The song holds
special significance for North Carolina native Brady, who responded
with best wishes for family and friends there.
- Columbia will reach the midway mark of its marathon mission just
before 9 PM this evening, with a decision expected by the end of the
weekend by mission managers whether to extend the flight by an extra
day for science. If the flight is extended, Columbia would land at the
Kennedy Space Center on Sunday, July 7.
- On Friday, June 28, 1996, 6:00 p.m. CDT, STS-78 MCC Status Report # 18
- While Columbia's astronauts sleep, investigators on the ground will
remotely command the Bubble Drop and Particle Unit experiment
throughout the night. The crew will receive a wakeup call from
Mission Control at 1:54 Saturday morning.
- The bubble drop experiment is once again operating at full capacity
following a successful maintenance procedure by the crew this morning.
That procedure rerouted power to one of the test containers, bypassing
a circuit which had been causing an intermittent power short.
- Life science investigations in the Spacelab module today once again
focused on studying the astronaut's pulmonary function and muscle
strength. Tomorrow's activities will continue those investigations
into the effects of microgravity on the human body.
- Columbia will reach the midway mark of its marathon mission just
before 9 tonight, with a decision expected by the end of the weekend
by mission managers whether to extend the flight by an extra day for
science. If the flight is extended, Columbia's mission would end with
landing July 7 at the Kennedy Space Center.in Florida.
- The flight control team has not been working any significant problems
on board Columbia, which is continuing to provide a stable platform
for the Life & Microgravity Spacelab mission.
- On Friday, June 28, 1996, 6:00 p.m. CDT, STS-78 Payload Status Report # 09
reports: (MET 008/07:00:00)
- During their ninth day in flight, the Space Shuttle Columbia's crew
successfully implemented an in-flight maintenance procedure with a
specialized fluid research system, eliminating a glitch that had posed
a problem for one of the experiments.
- Late today, experiment processing resumed normally in the Bubble, Drop
and Particle Unit, after a team effort by the crew and engineers and
scientists on the ground successfully circumvented a short in the
unit's power supply. This morning, Payload Specialist
Dr. Jean-Jacques Favier and Pilot Kevin Kregel performed the in-flight
- Verification that the maintenance plan succeeded came after Favier and
Kregel initiated the Electrohydrodynamics of Liquid Bridges
experiment. Headed by Dr. Dudley Saville of Princeton University,
Princeton, N.J., the experiment focuses on shape changes which occur
in a fluid bridge suspended between two electrodes. Fluids being
studied include castor oil, clove oil, eugenol and silicone oil. The
investigation could have applications in industrial processes where
the control of a liquid column or spray is necessary, such as ink-jet
printing and polymer fiber spinning.
- Prior to maintenance on the Bubble unit, the Thermocapillary Migration
of Bubbles and Drops experiment was concluded earlier today. The
experiment, developed by Dr. R.S. Subramanian of Clarkson University,
Potsdam, N.Y., examined the behavior of bubbles injected in silicone
oil under a temperature gradient.
- In another area of microgravity research, processing of samples is
continuing in the Advanced Gradient Heating Facility. A minor snag
with the facility was cleared up early this morning. At 5:20 a.m.,
crew members turned the facility on and off, which served to
resynchronize the furnace's computer with a data-relay device. The
procedure was accomplished between sample processing runs, therefore
not affecting the planned experiment schedule.
- Crew members today began the Comparative Study of Cells and Dendrites
experiment, led by Dr. Henri Nguyen Thi of the University of
Aix-Marseille, France. This experiment melts and solidifies two
samples of an aluminum alloy at a precise growth rate. The alloys are
then rapidly cooled to preserve the shape of their solidification
boundaries. After the mission, these samples will be cut and polished
so investigators can determine the structure's quality. Researchers
hope to improve microscopic qualities of materials by controlling the
exact conditions at which these shapes change.
- In the mission's important experiment area of life sciences, today
Payload Specialists Dr. Robert Thirsk and Favier and Mission
Specialists Dr. Richard Linnehan and Dr. Charles Brady completed
hand-grip, arm and leg strength tests today using the Torque Velocity
Dynamometer. The dynamometer is a sophisticated device providing
precise measurement of muscle strength, power and endurance. This is
one of several studies to determine how spaceflight affects muscle
size and strength.
- Thirsk and Favier also participated in the Percutaneous Electrical
Muscle Stimulation investigation. The experiment requires attachment
of electrodes to the left leg -- a means of applying precise
electrical stimuli to muscles to cause involuntary muscle
contractions. The study will help researchers determine why muscles
lose strength in a microgravity environment.
- Linnehan and Favier continued tests today in the mission's important
musculoskeletal experiments using the ergometer, a bicycle-like
device. To create and maintain a constant workload, the ergometer has
a large, weighted flywheel surrounded by a braking band to resist the
subject's pedaling. On-orbit results will be compared with pre- and
post-flight data to determine the effects of microgravity on muscle
activity, ability to control muscles, and capacity to secrete growth
hormones. The test will provide investigators with qualitative
measurements of the stress induced by exercise and may help develop
measures to reduce in-flight muscle atrophy.
- Favier, Thirsk and Linnehan continued experiments today to measure the
effects of microgravity on the pulmonary system during rest and heavy
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