STS-83 Day 2 Highlights
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- On Saturday, April 5, 1997, 6:30 a.m. CST, STS-83 MCC Status Report # 2
- The red team members of STS-83, Commander Jim Halsell and Pilot
Susan Still along with Mission Specialist Don Thomas and Payload
Specialist Greg Linteris have been busy continuing the payload
activation process begun by their blue team counterparts as the
research efforts of the first Microgravity Science Laboratory-1
(MSL) mission get into full swing.
- The STS-83 crew will spend more than two weeks studying the
properties of combustion and the behavior of metals, materials and
fluids in the absence of gravity. The astronauts are split into red
and blue teams, each working a 12-hour shift, to allow
around-the-clock operations in the pressurized Spacelab science module
in Columbia's cargo bay.
- After being awakened just before midnight, Halsell and Still set up
the bicycle ergometer in the Shuttle's middeck area. Each of the
STS-83 crewmembers will use the bicycle for exercise during the
flight. Thomas activated the Large Isothermal Furnace (LIF)
experiment and the Expedite the Processing of Experiments to the
International Space Station (EXPRESS) rack while Linteris continued
the activation of Protein Crystal Growth experiments.
- Remaining activities in the red team's day will include the setup
and checkout of the Wireless Data Acquisition System (WDAS)
experiment. This is a proof of concept payload that uses wireless RF
signals to relay data from temperature sensors in the payload bay and
spacelab module. Analysis of future Space Station operation
requirements indicate that there may be a requirement for real time
monitoring of temperature readings in various parts of the station and
a system such as the WDAS could meet that need.
- Columbia's blue team of astronauts is scheduled to be awakened at
9:21 a.m. CST this morning to begin Flight Day 2 activities. Columbia
continues to circle the Earth in a 187 x 184 s.m. orbit, completing
one full revolution of the Earth every 90 minutes. Voss and Crouch
will conduct an interview with two television stations in the Rockford
Illinois area at 5:46 p.m. this afternoon. Voss is a native of
- On Saturday, April 5, 1997, 6:00 a.m. EST, STS-83 Payload Status Report # 02
reports: (MET 0/16:39)
- Overnight, the crew of the Microgravity Science Laboratory mission
continued to power on facilities in the Spacelab and began some of the
more than 30 experiments to be conducted during the 16-day mission.
- Yesterday evening, Mission Specialist Dr. Janice Voss activated the
High-Packed Digital Television to give scientists on Earth the ability
to view multiple channels of live video from the Spacelab. This
technology allows scientists on the ground to monitor their
experiments, change parameters and improve the quality and quantity of
scientific information gathered during the mission.
- Payload Specialist Dr. Roger Crouch activated one protein crystal
growth experiment late yesterday. Voss later activated a second
experiment. The goal of these studies -- the Protein Crystallization
Apparatus for Microgravity and the Hand-Held Diffusion Test Cell -- is
to grow high-quality protein crystals which may be used to help
determine the three-dimensional structure and function of proteins in
the human body. Findings from this and other protein crystal growth
studies may lead to the development of new, more effective drugs to
fight diseases such as cancer, diabetes, alcoholism, AIDS and
- All four acceleration measurement systems are now operating,
following activation of the Quasi-Steady and Space Acceleration
Measurement Systems by Voss last night. These systems work together to
detect and record the slight, unavoidable disturbances in the
near-zero gravity environment of the Spacelab. Science teams rely on
this information -- downlinked in near-real-time -- to determine the
effect of the disturbances on experiments.
- Before retiring for the day, Crouch configured the TEMPUS facility
for operations. This electromagnetic containerless processing furnace
will be used to study the undercooling and rapid solidification of
metals and alloys. Undercooling occurs when a solid is melted into a
liquid then cooled below its normal freezing point without
solidifying. "When the metal or alloy is solidified, it occurs very
rapidly, forming new types of materials we cannot manufacture or study
in any other way" said Jan Rogers, TEMPUS project scientist.
- A better understanding of this process may lead to improved welding,
casting and soldering techniques, and in turn, better products
manufactured using these processes.
- Voss and Crouch handed off to Mission Specialist Dr. Donald Thomas
and Payload Specialist Dr. Gregory Linteris around midnight. One of
the first orders of business for the oncoming crew was activating
another protein growth experiment -- the Vapor Diffusion
Apparatus. Flown on earlier missions, this device has helped
scientists define procedures and mixtures for efficient growth of
protein crystals in space. During this mission, researchers will
continue to study protein crystal mixtures to further enhance crystal
- Early this morning Thomas activated the Large Isothermal Furnace.
This facility will be used to study the diffusion of liquid metals --
the process by which liquid metals mix without stirring -- similar to
how a drop of food coloring disperses in a glass of water. This
process cannot be adequately studied on Earth because of fluid
movement caused by gravity.
- Thomas powered on the EXPRESS (Expedite the Processing of
Experiments to the Space Station) rack, an experiment support facility
designed to simplify and speed the process of housing, transporting,
installing and operating experiments planned for the International
- Following activation of the facility, Thomas initiated the Physics
of Hard Spheres Experiment to examine the changes which occur as
substances go from the liquid to the solid state and vice versa --
processes fundamental to materials processing. This research will
provide a better understanding of these transitional phases and may
result in improved techniques for processing materials on Earth.
- Ahead, Linteris will set up the Combustion Module to begin a study
of the properties of soot; and Thomas will begin a study in the Large
Isothermal Furnace to measure the fundamental variables which regulate
the diffusion of impurities in molten salts. Crouch and Voss will
assume science operations aboard the Shuttle around mid-day. Crouch
will power up the Middeck Glovebox facility for an experiment to study
the manipulation of fluid drops in low- gravity. Voss will configure
the Droplet Combustion Apparatus for a study of burning fuel droplets.
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