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03-002
For Release: January 14, 2003

Lori J. Rachul
Media Relations Office
216/433-8806
Lori.J.Rachul@nasa.gov


LOCAL MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH EXPERIMENTS WILL BE PUT TO THE TEST ON NEXT SHUTTLE MISSION

On January 16, 2003, Space Shuttle Columbia will begin a 16-day research mission. On board will be seven science experiments to be carried out by NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland. The experiments will range from determining how fire changes in microgravity to understanding the mechanisms of soot formation during combustion, to measuring the viscous behavior of xenon, a heavy inert gas used in flash lamps and ion rocket engines, to measurement of vibrations one million times weaker than Earth's gravity.

This mission, which has been designated as STS-107 will carry an international crew of seven, including the first Israeli astronaut. They will work 24-hours a day in two alternating shifts to conduct outstanding peer-reviewed and commercial research to advance knowledge in medicine, fundamental biology, fluid physics, materials research and combustion.

Glenn is responsible for Combustion Module-2 (CM-2), which will examine health and safety issues that affect life on Earth and in space by investigating three main areas: pollution control, fuel efficiency and fire suppression. CM-2 is comprised of three individual experiments that address these areas respectively: Laminar Soot Processes, Structure of Flame Balls at Low Lewis-number and the Water Mist Fire Suppression Experiment.

Glenn also manages Critical Viscosity of Xenon-2 (CVX-2), which is studying the fundamental properties of xenon at its critical point, and, an array of acceleration measurement instruments used to accurately report any disturbances to space shuttle environment, which is close to no acceleration (or "zero-g").

Ann Over, the project manager for CM-2 says, "Our teams at Glenn have been working hard for the last few years to develop the experiments and train the ground and flight crew for mission operations. In particular we have enjoyed training four of the seven flight crew members on CM-2, including Ilan Ramon, the astronaut from Israel. We are filled with anticipation for a successful launch and great science results on orbit. These results will represent new scientific knowledge, which will benefit the space program, however, the ultimate value is when we apply the knowledge we gain to systems here on Earth, truly for the benefit of all."

This mission will carry the first flight of the SPACEHAB Research Double Module, which houses the lab space where the flight crew will work. It is comparable to the multi-disciplinary Spacelab missions flown during the 1980s and '90s, and will build on those highly successful results, while serving as a prelude to long-duration investigations planned for the International Space Station.

More information about Glenn's involvement in STS-107 is available on-line:

http://microgravity.grc.nasa.gov/sts-107

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle

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