Discovery’s astronauts continue to conduct and monitor experiments that will help some researchers measure atmospheric phenomena while other crew members gather data on experiments and hardware that will be used on the International Space Station.
Serving as a testbed for those ISS evaluations, the orbiter is functioning in excellent fashion while the crew gathers data using the Space Vision System – a series of dots strategically placed on various payload and vehicle structures that permit precise alignment and pointing that could be invaluable on the space station when a clear line of sight by the crew is not available.
In addition to SVS, the crew is evaluating a system designed to dampen vibrations that could be harmful to sensitive science experiments. The Microgravity Vibration Isolation Mount, or MIM, also can induce vibrations that scientists can use to determine what effects those vibrations have on experiment operations. It will be operated throughout the day by Canadian Astronaut and Payload Specialist Bjarni Tryggvason.
While Payload Commander Jan Davis focused on SVS operations, Mission Specialist Steve Robinson worked with a controlled-flame investigation called the Solid Surface Combustion Experiment. Robinson also will setup and operate a small ultraviolet imaging telescope to view Comet Hale-Bopp. The shuttle’s robot arm will be strategically placed to provide shading of orbiter windows during the telescope’s observations.
Mission Commander Curt Brown and Pilot Kent Rominger continue to periodically fire thruster jets on the orbiter to maintain an adequate distance from the free-flying CRISTA-SPAS satellite which was deployed on launch day. The satellite will gather atmospheric data, including ozone measurements, that will be useful in calibrating other ground-based instruments.
Flight Engineer Bob Curbeam will spend his day assisting with the Space Vision System and Hale-Bopp observations, while overseeing work with the Bioreactor Demonstration System, which will evaluate a cell culture incubator and a biotechnology specimen temperature controller. Cell biology experiments in space could lead to the use of microgravity to manufacture tissues from individual cells.
The STS-85 crew was awakened at 2:40 this morning to the song "Don’t Look Down," by Lindsey Buckingham. The astronauts’ third flight day on Discovery ends at 5:40 this afternoon.
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