STS-78 Day 10 Highlights
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- On Saturday, June 29, 1996, 6:00 a.m. CDT, STS-78 MCC Status Report # 19
- Columbia's astronauts will continue to record data on their bodies'
responses to microgravity as part of the Life & Microgravity Spacelab
mission, concentrating today on inner ear changes and muscular
- Canadian Payload Specialist Bob Thirsk will have a chance to speak
with students at Maple Grove Education Center in Nova Scotia via the
Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment, and Mission Specialist Chuck Brady
will talk with students from Anacortes Middle School in Washington
State using the on-board "ham" radio gear.
- The crew was awakened at 1:54 a.m. CDT to the sounds of "Another
Saturday Night," as performed by the all-astronaut Max-Q Band. Payload
Commander Susan Helms plays keyboard for the group.
- Columbia has passed the midway mark of its marathon mission. A
decision by mission managers on whether to extend the flight by an
extra day for science is expected by the start of next week. If the
flight is extended, Columbia's mission would end July 7 at Kennedy
Space Center in Florida.
- Flight controllers are not working any significant problems aboard
Columbia, which is providing a stable platform for the ongoing
- On Saturday, June 29, 1996, 1:00 p.m. CDT, STS-78 Payload Status Report # 10
reports: (MET 009/03:00:00)
- Space Shuttle Columbia got a "Go!" in the name of science today --
formal approval by managers to extend the mission by one day, easily
putting this flight on track to become the longest Shuttle flight to
- The science team at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville,
Ala., had requested the extension to allow an additional day to
conduct a flight manifest loaded with more than 40 experiments in life
and microgravity sciences from an international mix of researchers.
- That approval came at 8:24 a.m. CDT today. The announcement was sent
up to the crew coupled with a few bars from the movie theme "Mission
Impossible." The seven-member crew reacted with obvious jubilation,
thrusting their arms into the air and greeting one another with
high-fives. Said Columbia Commander Tom Henricks: "We are willing,
able and eagerly anticipating" the flight extension.
- The extension will be inserted into the flight timeline on Monday,
adding 24 hours of experiments and activities to the mission. On
Tuesday, the remainder of the flight schedule, as planned before the
mission, will resume. For the crew and researchers stationed around
the globe, the extension means more work -- but of the type everyone
is clearly ready and eager to do. Most importantly, it means
substantial benefits to science.
- In the one-day add-on, more tests will be performed and information
gathered from experiments designed to understand the subtle influences
at work during processing of various samples, such as alloy materials,
when gravity's effects are greatly reduced. It means, as well,
additional study into the responses of living organisms and
musculoskeletal physiology to weightlessness.
- Columbia, launched June 20, is completing its 10th flight day
today. If all continues to go well, it will exceed the previous
Shuttle flight-duration record by 7 hours, landing at Kennedy Space
Center on Sunday, July 7 at 7:38 a.m. CDT.
- Space Shuttle Endeavour's Astro 2 mission now holds the endurance
record for its flight in March 1995, of 16 days, 15 hours and 9
minutes. Columbia is set to pass that record on July 7 at 12:58
- Columbia and its orbiting laboratory Spacelab continue to perform in a
nearly flawless fashion today. Henricks and Shuttle Pilot Kevin
Kregel initiated a study earlier today in the Bubble, Drop, and
Particle Unit. Designed by Dr. Johannes Straub of Technical
University in Munich, Germany, the study uses small heaters of
different shapes and sizes to examine heat transfer during boiling.
Because boiling is an efficient way to exchange heat, it is used in
many energy conversion systems on Earth. Systems which may benefit
from research in this field include cooling of high-powered electronic
devices, such as computer chips.
- The Bubble, Drop and Particle Unit is working at full capacity today
following successful maintenance procedures Friday to bypass a short
in the unit's power supply. The Electrohydrodynamics of Liquid Bridges
experiment concluded this morning in the Bubble Unit. The study,
developed by Dr. Dudley Saville of Princeton University, Princeton,
N.J., examined shape changes which occur in a fluid bridge suspended
between two electrodes. This research may find application in
industrial processes where control of a liquid column or spray is
used. Those include ink-jet printing and polymer fiber spinning.
- In another microgravity sciences investigation, processing continued
today of an aluminum-copper mixture being solidified in the Advanced
Gradient Heating Facility. In this experiment, designed by Dr. Denis
Camel of the French Atomic Energy Commission in Grenoble, France, one
sample is solidified at a nearly constant temperature, while the other
is processed at a high temperature gradient. The samples' structure
then will be compared with those of theoretical models. This research
may lead to better understanding the influence of natural fluid flows
in Earth-based metal alloy processing. Aluminum alloys are important
in a wide array of applications, such as in manufacturing of
high-performance aircraft components.
- Later today, a cartridge is slated to be inserted into the
high-temperature furnace to begin a study of the segregation of
ternary, or three-component compounds, during solidification. As a
metal alloy or semiconductor crystal solidifies, fluid flows and the
movement of the solid's growing edge can cause the material's
ingredients to separate, forming an uneven sample. In this
experiment, a compound of gallium, indium and antimony is melted and
resolidified to study the uniformity of the compound's structure. The
goal of this research is to improve both production methods and final
products of Earth-based industries. The principal investigator of the
experiment is Dr. Thierry Duffar of the French Atomic Energy
Commission in Grenoble, France.
- A number of experiments are continuing today in the study of life
sciences onboard Columbia.
- Mission Specialists Dr. Richard Linnehan and Dr. Charles Brady and
Payload Specialists Dr. Jean-Jacques Favier and Dr. Robert Thirsk
participated in a series of tests aimed at measuring muscle strength,
energy expenditure and fatigue. Using the Torque Velocity Dynamometer
to measure the turning effect on muscles when force is applied, the
four crew members performed arm tests. One of the experiment's
principal investigators, Dr. Pietro di Prampero of the University of
Udine in Udine, Italy, said today that "analyses so far have shown
smaller changes in the maximal force of leg and arm muscles than
expected." Prampero added: "Researchers are very anxious to see how
the study will progress over the next 10 days."
- Today, the crew completed another of four tests focusing on the
effects of microgravity on the vestibular system in the inner ear. In
space, the vestibular system sometimes becomes confused as to which
way is up and down, leading to nausea and disorientation. Using
specially designed head gear to monitor head movement and eye
coordination, crew members Linnehan, Brady, Favier, Thirsk and Payload
Commander Susan Helms performed tests throughout their shifts to
determine how the head and eyes track visual and motion targets in
microgravity. The study, developed by Dr. Millard Reschke of Johnson
Space Center's Medical Sciences Division, is providing scientists with
important information about the crews' ability to adapt to
- Using a laptop computer at the Performance Assessment Work Station,
Favier, Thirsk, Kregel and Henricks today completed a series of tasks
to test thinking skills. The study is designed to help optimize a
crew's work schedule and maximize productivity in space.
- On Saturday, June 29, 1996, 6:00 p.m. CDT, STS-78 MCC Status Report # 20
- Columbia's crew today performed orbital high-fives when told of the
decision to extend the mission by one day to allow for additional
science data gathering.
- The call to the STS-78 crew came at 8:24 this morning from Astronaut
Chris Hadfield in Mission Control while the payload crew worked on
many of the 40 experiments that make up the Life and Microgravity
Spacelab mission. Columbia's twentieth space flight is now likely to
break the Space Shuttle endurance record.
- Endeavour currently holds that mark on the STS-67 mission which flew
in March 1995. That flight lasted 16 days, 15 hours. The current
mission is now planned to last 16 days, 21 hours. The record will be
broken as the crew prepares for reentry in the early morning hours of
- The anticipated extension of the mission was based on acceptable
margins of electricity to power experiments for the added day and the
performance of Columbia as a platform for the laboratory work in the
- The seven-member crew has been adjusting its sleep and wake schedule
gradually throughout the flight to accommodate the early morning
landing at the Kennedy Space Center.a week from now. The astronauts
began an eight hour sleep period at about 5:30 this afternoon and will
receive the traditional wakeup call from Mission Control at 1:29
Sunday morning to begin flight day 12.
- Tomorrow morning beginning at 9:39, the crew will hold a press
conference to discuss the progress of the mission, its objectives and
the scientific investigations underway.
- Columbia's current orbit is circular at 168 statute miles, circling
the Earth every 90 minutes.
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