In addition to the robot arm checkout, late last night the
astronauts activated experiments on the United States Microgravity
Payload, which for more than two weeks will gather data on the effects
of weightlessness on a number of materials. The USMP package is
flying for the fourth time.
Columbia is traveling around the Earth once every 90 minutes at an
altitude of 152 nautical miles.
On Thursday, November 20, 1997, 6:00 p.m. CST, STS-87 MCC Status Report # 03
Columbia's astronauts conducted a variety of experiments in their
second day in space today, gearing up for the deployment of the
SPARTAN solar science satellite Friday, one day behind schedule.
With a companion solar satellite called SOHO back on line after a
temporary power glitch, the stage is set for the release of SPARTAN
tomorrow at 3:03 p.m. Central time for about 50 hours of free-flying
observations of solar phenomena. SOHO, which was launched on an
Atlas-2 rocket in December 1995, will conduct co-investigations with
SPARTAN while the boxy satellite flies free of Columbia. SPARTAN will
be retrieved just after 8 p.m. Central time Sunday. The one-day delay
in deploying SPARTAN will have no effect on other planned activities
during the 16-day flight, including a scheduled spacewalk by Mission
Specialists Winston Scott and Takao Doi Monday night to test assembly
techniques for the International Space Station. Doi will become the
first Japanese astronaut to walk in space.
Mission Specialist Kalpana Chawla (pron: Kulp'-nuh Chav'-lah) and
Pilot Steve Lindsey will operate Columbia's 50-foot long robot arm for
the deployment of SPARTAN tomorrow afternoon. Once the satellite is
released, Commander Kevin Kregel will fire jet thrusters to slowly
separate from SPARTAN as it begins its scientific operations.
Throughout the day, the astronauts conducted experiments involving
the effect of weightlessness on materials and fluids. Lindsey also
worked with an experiment to study ozone layers set against the limb
of the Earth.
Ukrainian Payload Specialist Leonid Kadenyuk spent the day
conducting studies involving plant growth in weightlessness with the
CUE experiment, the Collaborative Ukrainian Experiment which Kadenyuk
will operate throughout the course of the flight.
Columbia is flying smoothly on at an altitude of 176 statute miles
with all of its systems functioning in excellent shape. Columbia is
circling the Earth every 90 minutes in an orbit inclined 28 and a half
degrees to either side of the Equator.
Go to STS-87 Flight Day 3 Highlights: