STS-94 Day 1 Highlights
Return to STS-94 Mission Summary
- On Tuesday, July 1, 1997, 2:00 p.m. CDT, STS-94 MCC Status Report # 1
- The Shuttle Columbia, carrying seven astronauts, blasted off from
Launch Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center.to return to orbit to
complete a microgravity science mission cut short in April by a fuel
- Commander Jim Halsell, Pilot Susan Still, Mission Specialists Janice
Voss, Mike Gernhardt and Don Thomas and Payload Specialists Roger
Crouch and Greg Linteris lifted off at 1:02 p.m. Central time, just
12 minutes behind schedule to enable forecasters to make a final check
of clouds near the launch site.
- Once Columbia's cargo bay doors are opened about an hour and a half
into the flight, Voss, who is the payload commander, and Crouch, will
begin to activate Spacelab systems in advance of their entrance into
the pressurized Spacelab module in Columbias payload bay. At about
that same time, Halsell, Still, Thomas and Linteris, who comprise the
Red team, will begin an abbreviated seven hour sleep period. Blue team
crewmember Gernhardt will join Voss and Crouch in the activation of
Spacelab experiments and Shuttle systems for the planned 16-day
mission. The seven astronauts will operate in two shifts, working
around the clock, to maximize the science return from the flight.
- With Columbias launch, the Shuttle is now expected to return to
Earth on July 17 at around 5:30 a.m. Central time.
- On Tuesday, July 1, 1997, 6:00 p.m. CST, STS-94 Payload Status Report # 01
- The Microgravity Science Laboratory Mission - 1, bridging the gap
between today's Spacelab and tomorrow's International Space Station,
is under way after a smooth launch at 1:02 p.m. CDT today. Originally
scheduled to launch at 1:37 p.m., the launch time was moved forward
earlier this week to avoid possible summer afternoon thunderstorms.
- STS-94 marks the reflight of the Microgravity Science Laboratory
mission which was cut short in April because of a problem with one of
the Shuttles three fuel cells. "We are ready," said Teresa
Vanhooser, mission manager at Marshall Space Flight Center in
Huntsville, Ala. "The science teams got just enough during the first
flight to whet their appetites, and we are looking forward to the
complete 16 days of the STS-94 mission."
- The reflight offers science teams an advantage. "We were ahead on
the score board but got rained out after the second inning," said
Mission Scientist Dr. Mike Robinson. "We know these experiments work,
but that's as far as we got. It's now time to finish the job, to
complete the data."
- After reaching an altitude of 160 nautical miles above Earth, where
Space Shuttle Columbia will orbit for the next 16 days, members of the
crew began work immediately to set up the Spacelab. A versatile
research laboratory inside the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle, the
Spacelab will serve as the astronauts' workspace for the next
- Payload Commander Dr. Janice Voss and Payload Specialist Dr. Roger
Crouch floated into the Spacelab late this afternoon and began
preparing to activate the 33 microgravity science experiments carried
aboard the orbiter.
- For Crouch, the first order of business was to set up the Combustion
Module and the EXPRESS rack. The Combustion Module will be used to
conduct two experiments during the mission -- a study of the
properties of soot and a flame ball investigation.
- Combustion is an important energy-producing process. Furnaces for
processing materials, home heating, gasoline-powered engines and gas
turbine-generated power all rely on combustion. Findings from these
investigations conducted in the Combustion Module will provide
researchers with a better understanding of the combustion process and
may lead to improvements in combustion engines, increasing fuel
efficiency and reducing emissions. Results may also lead to
improvements in fire safety, benefiting mining, chemical manufacturing
and aerospace industries.
- A new, key component on the Microgravity Science Laboratory mission
is the innovative EXPRESS Rack, which stands for 'EXpedite the
Processing of Experiments to the Space Station.' It is designed for
quick and easy installation of hardware and experiments on Space
Station. Aboard Columbia, the EXPRESS Rack replaces a Spacelab double
rack and houses two experiments -- the Physics of Hard Spheres
Experiment and the Astro/Plant Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus
experiment. These studies will check the design, development and
adaptation of the EXPRESS Rack hardware.
- Over the next 12 hours, working with science teams on the ground at
Marshall, crew members will continue to prepare the Spacelab and begin
- Voss will activate the High-Packed Digital Television system 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
- The Protein Crystal Growth experiments will be activated
overnight. Proteins are essential components of all living cells and
serve many different functions. The weightlessness environment of the
Spacelab allows scientists to grow near-perfect crystals, necessary to
determine the exact structure and function of a protein. On Earth,
gravity henders the formation of perfect crystals. Knowledge from
these studies may lead to the development of more effective drugs to
treat diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's and AIDS.
- Voss will begin activation of four microgravity measurement systems
to measure slight yet unavoidable disturbances in the microgravity
environment of the Spacelab. Science teams rely on this information --
downlinked in near-real-time -- to determine the effect of the
disturbances on experiments.
- Crouch will configure the TEMPUS facility for operations. This
electromagnetic containerless processing facility 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 a
metal or alloy is solidified, it occurs very rapidly, forming new
types of materials we cannot manufacture or study in any other way,"
said Dr. Jan Rogers, TEMPUS project scientist with Marshall Space
- Later, Voss and Crouch will hand over science operations to Mission
Specialist Dr. Donald Thomas and Payload Specialist Dr. Gregory
- The Large Isothermal Furnace will be activated overnight. 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
Go to STS-94 Flight Day 2 Highlights: