Orbital flight demonstration using a uniquely designed small robotic arm will continue today as Discovery’s mission heads into its fifth day.
Two wakeup calls – one unscheduled late last night – signalled the start of the day for the six astronauts that make up the STS-85 crew. Johnny Mathis’ "Chances Are," a favorite of Flight Engineer Bob Curbeam’s, awoke the crew officially at 1:40 this morning.
Mission Control called the crew at about 11:15 last night following a temporary malfunction of the telemetry and command system for the Technology Applications and Science package which left the Shuttle Laser Altimeter laser in the "on" position. The instrument measures the height of clouds and acquires profiles of land and surface vegetation. Commander Curt Brown turned off the TAS avionics and the SLA laser restoring commanding capability from the ground. Within minutes investigators were able to continue experiment operations.
Payload Commander Jan Davis and Mission Specialist Steve Robinson will once again test the small robotic arm serving as a prototype for one that will fly as part of the Japanese Experiment Module on the International Space Station. Simulated orbital replacement unit detachment and reattachment will be the focus once again today.
Bob Curbeam will discuss the progress of the flight at 7:45 this morning with a television station in St Louis, before continuing his work with the Bioreactor Demonstration System designed to perform cell biology experiments under controlled conditions.
Immediately after Curbeam’s interview, Canadian Payload Specialist Bjarni Tryggvason is set to talk to elementary and high school students at a summer camp in Saskatchewan, Canada. He then will once again concentrate on working with the Microgravity Vibration Isolation Mount which uses magnets to levitate a platform and protect sensitive microgravity processing experiments from vibrations.
Brown and Pilot Kent Rominger continue to watch over Discovery which is supporting more than 24 science investigations onboard and on the CRISTA-SPAS satellite, 40 nautical miles behind the Orbiter, where it is gathering atmospheric data for investigators on the ground.
The next scheduled mission status report will be issued late this afternoon.
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