STS-91 Day 8 Highlights
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- On Tuesday, June 9, 1998, 6:00 a.m. CDT, STS-91 MCC Status Report # 14
- With astronaut Andy Thomas aboard and on his way home, Discovery and
crew will focus on science investigations today and participate in
several special interviews and phone calls.
- Following yesterday's undocking with the Russian Mir space station,
crew members will each have a couple of hours off duty during the day
as well to provide a brief rest break from the hectic pace of their
- Observations will continue today with the Alpha Magnetic
Spectrometer (AMS) science instrument mounted in Discovery's payload
bay. The 3 1/2 ton instrument is an innovative particle collector
hoped to provide scientists with insight into the existence of dark
matter and antimatter in the universe. Aboard Discovery, astronauts
Franklin Chang-Diaz and Janet Kavandi are monitoring the experiment.
- Also today, Pilot Dom Gorie and astronaut Wendy Lawrence will study
the process of combustion in weightlessness using the Solid Surface
Combustion Experiment (SSCE) in Discovery's cabin. The investigation
studies how air motion affects the spread of flames. The convection
currents that cause hot air to rise on Earth are not present in
weightlessness, and fires burn differently.
- Although the problem with high-rate communications will not allow
television to be transmitted from Discovery, the crew will take part
in several audio events with students and media today. At 6:26 a.m.
Central, Commander Charlie Precourt and Chang-Diaz will answer
questions from students in Lisbon, Portugal, and in Washington, D.C.,
in an event that will honor the 500th anniversary of Portuguese
explorer Vasco De Gama's discovery of a sea route to India. Portugal
also is a participant in the international AMS experiment aboard the
- At about 7:06 a.m., Thomas will offer thanks and congratulations to
NASA operations personnel who have supported him at the Mission
Control Center-Moscow in Korolev, Russia, through a special
link-up. At 9:31 a.m. Central, reporters with the Mutual Broadcasting
System, KMOX Radio in St. Louis and King TV in Seattle will have an
opportunity to interview Precourt, Thomas, Chang-Diaz and Kavandi.
- At 11:21 a.m Central, Precourt and Chang-Diaz will take a special
phone call from Costa Rican President Dr. Miguel Angel Rodriguez, U.S.
Ambassador to Costa Rica Thomas J. Dodd and Costa Rican scientists Dr.
Bert Kohlmann and Sith Ying. Kohlmann leads the space research team
that has conducted experiments on the shuttle that ma y help find
insight into the illness of Chagras disease. Ying is a student at
Earth College in Costa Rica who also has worked with NASA.
- On Tuesday, June 9, 1998, 6:30 p.m. CDT, STS-91 MCC Status Report # 15
- Following four busy days of docked operations with the Mir station,
Discovery's crew enjoyed an afternoon of off -duty time today as they
move into the home stretch of their flight.
- This morning's activities included work with the Orbiter Space
Vision System (OSVS) experiment, a system that creates a graphic
digital display of the payload bay environment on laptop computers.
The SVS equipment will be used during the assembly of the
International Space Station to provide astronauts operating the
Shuttle's mechanical arm with precise alignment information as station
components are brought together.
- The crew continued stowing items that were transferred over from the
Mir for return to Earth and monitored some of the science experiments
being carried on the flight. Additional tests were made of the
Spacehab Universal Communications System (SHUCS), although the system
is still experiencing problems with the ability of its antenna to find
and hold communication with the satellites that support the
- The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer payload, located in Discovery's
payload bay, was powered off for a period of time earlier today due to
concerns that the payload might be getting too warm. After an
adjustment was made to the orientation the Shuttle was flying in,
thermal conditions improved. The AMS was subsequently powered back up
and high rate data collection has resumed. The 3 1/2 ton instrument
is an innovative particle collector hoped to provide scientists with
insight into the existence of dark matter and antimatter in the
universe. Aboard Discovery, astronauts Franklin Chang-Diaz and Janet
Kavandi are monitoring the experiment.
- While the crew enjoyed some time off, flight controllers reviewed a
problem seen with the Shuttle's onboard computer system.
- Last night while the crew was asleep, General Purpose Computer (GPC)
#1 was supporting guidance, navigation and control requirements and
GPC #4 was supporting systems management. Flight controllers noted
that on GPC #1, within the software program supporting the Global
Position Satellite operation, there was a growing discrepancy between
where the GPS system was telling the Shuttle it was located and where
the GPC had calculated the Shuttle should be. Resets of the GPS
system software did not resolve the discrepancy. The cause of the
discrepancy is not yet understood.
- A decision was made to bring up a different computer to support
Shuttle guidance and navigation with the GPS portion of the program
turned off. Since doing that, all guidance and navigation activities
have been nominal. The GPS portion of the navigation system remains
powered off. Consideration is being given to installing a software
patch for the guidance support program that would block out the GPS
portion of the guidance software.
- Discovery's crew will begin an eight-hour sleep period at 7:06
p.m. this evening and receive a wake-up call from Mission Control at
3:06 a.m. Central time tomorrow to begin their ninth day in space.
- Discovery is currently in a 207 by 195 nm orbit, circling the Earth
once every 91 minutes.
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