Space shuttle Columbia’s astronauts completed an experiment studying the activity of bone cells in microgravity and began final tests with a technology demonstration designed to investigate the behavior of capillary-pumped loops in space as the 16-day international science mission completed Flight Day 10.
Toward the end of their workday at 1 a.m. CST this morning, Pilot Willie McCool and Mission Specialists Dave Brown and Michael Anderson of the Blue Team took time out from their experiment schedule for interviews with reporters from Black Entertainment TV, WTKR-TV in Norfolk, Va., and KNSD-TV in San Diego. Following handover talks, Commander Rick Husband, Mission Specialists Kalpana Chawla and Laurel Clark, and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon of the Red Team began their workday.
Clark completed operations with the OSTEO (Osteoporosis Experiment in Orbit) investigation for STS-107. The experiment studied the activity of bone cells in microgravity by looking at normal activity and activity under the influence of various drugs. Clark also continued work on the Bioreactor Demonstration System, which is using the NASA-developed bioreactor to grow prostate cancer tissues. The objective is to learn how the cancer spreads into bones and aid in the development of future treatment methods. She also worked on a study of how bacteria and yeast develop in space and how microgravity affects their response to antibiotics.
Investigations with the Combined Two-Phase Loop Experiment were begun using a third cooling loop. Testing of this loop will continue for about 48 hours. The testing is performed to learn about the behavior of the loop in microgravity. The investigation examines three different two-phase thermal loops by transporting different amounts of heat from an evaporator to a condenser and then radiating the heat into space.
The Facility for Adsorption and Surface Tension, known as FAST, has completed the last pre-planned sequence of experiments. It is designed to measure the response of surface tension to carefully controlled changes in the surface areas of bubbles or droplets.
Ramon continued investigations with the SOFBALL (Structures of Flame Balls) experiment. The experiment studies lean combustion to help engineers design engines with better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions of pollution.
Television from the crew, narrated by Ramon, was downlinked around 11:30 a.m. showing various aspects of experiment operations conducted by both teams. Husband maneuvered Columbia today as required for any scientific activities.
McCool, Brown and Anderson were awakened at 2:39 p.m. to the sounds of “I Say a Little Prayer for You” sung by Dionne Warwick. The song was played for Anderson from his wife.
Husband ended his 10th day in space by calibrating two Israeli cameras that will be used to continue photographing dust particles, sprites and other electrical phenomena in the upper atmosphere. The crew hope to use the camera to observe a substantial plume of dust and smoke that extends from the Nigerian coast westward toward the Atlantic and an additional plume off the coast of Mauritania and Mali. Sprites in storms over Western Australia near Perth also will be observed. Sprites are electrical discharges that shoot up from the tops of thunderstorms into the Earth’s ionosphere.
All of Columbia's systems continue to operate in excellent shape.
It was a quiet day on board the International Space Station, meanwhile, as Expedition 6 Commander Ken Bowersox, Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and ISS Science Officer Don Pettit enjoyed a light workday. They will also partake in an off-duty day tomorrow before resuming normal scientific research and routine station maintenance activities on Monday.
The next STS-107 status report will be issued Sunday afternoon, or earlier, if events warrant.
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