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Mon, Jan 20, 2003

High Above It All: STS-107 Update

Fri, 17 Jan 2003, STS-107 MCC Status Report #03

In their first full day in orbit, Columbia’s seven crewmembers completed activation of the SPACEHAB Research Double Module in the shuttle’s cargo bay and all of its scientific experiments. Red Team members Commander Rick Husband, Mission Specialists Kalpana Chawla and Laurel Clark and Israeli Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon were awakened at 4:39 a.m. CST. Following a handover with their Blue Team counterparts, they took over for Pilot Willie McCool and Mission Specialists Dave Brown and Mike Anderson, who began an eight-hour sleep period at 10:39 a.m. CST.

All SPACEHAB payloads are performing well and research activities continue on schedule. Specific experiment highlights so far include:

All Fast Reaction Experiments Enabling Science Technology Applications and Research, or FREESTAR, payloads have been activated and are performing well. One FREESTAR experiment that measures the amount of energy coming from the sun completed an initial observation, with the best sun pointing ever seen on any shuttle flight. Another experiment that will perform measurements of the Earth’s ozone layer is operating nominally. The Mediterranean Israeli Dust Experiment, or MEIDEX, which will measure small particles called aerosols in the atmosphere over the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the Sahara desert, has been readied for initial observations.

The Bioreactor Demonstration System made its initial run. The NASA-developed bioreactor is being used to grow prostate cancer tissues to help scientists better understand how the cancer spreads into bones and to aid in the development of future treatment methods. In the first 20 hours of experiment operations, a significant aggregate of tumor tissue was grown.

The Critical Viscosity of Xenon-2 experiment has been working nominally. The instrument is cooling the xenon sample to begin calibration. A preliminary analysis of the flight data compares favorably with ground-based data. This research in fluid physics may be important to the production of paints, plastics, drugs, food and cosmetics.

The Blue Team will be awakened at 6:39 p.m. CST to continue work on the more than 80 experiments aboard Columbia. Scheduled activities include using MEIDEX, consisting of a radiometric camera and a video camera, to measure a Mediterranean dust plume north of the Gulf of Sidra. Human life sciences experiments also are scheduled to begin.

All systems aboard Columbia continue to function well.

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 6 Commander Ken Bowersox, Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit completed their eighth week in space. Today, they unstowed a rendezvous system from the Russian Progress 9 resupply ship in preparation for the Progress’ undocking February 1. That will clear the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module for the arrival of a new Progress cargo craft February 4.

The Expedition 6 crew also conducted metabolic science experiments, exercised and prepared for a quiet weekend in orbit.

FMI: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov

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