Orbital flight demonstration using a uniquely designed small robotic arm continued today as Discovery’s crew completed its fifth day of on orbit activities.
Within the past hour, Commander Curt Brown, Pilot Kent Rominger, Mission Specialists Jan Davis, Robert Curbeam, Steve Robinson and Canadian Payload Specialist Bjarni Tryggvason begin an eight hour sleep period at 4:41 p.m. CDT.
Payload Commander Jan Davis and Mission Specialist Steve Robinson conducted the third in a series of tests with the Manipulator Flight Demonstration (MFD) payload and 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. Davis used the arm to remove and replace a simulated orbital replacement unit on a stand on the MFD platform.
One more day of work with the small mechanical arm is planned to take place on Flight Day Seven. The fourth day of MFD operations will be different as the arm is maneuvered by personnel in the Payload Operations Control Center (POCC)in the Mission Control building while the crew monitors the arm’s performance. Ground control operations will only involve arm movement and will not use either the orbital replacement unit or door mechanism units that were utilized in earlier operations.
In an interview with KMOX-Radio in St Louis this morning, Curbeam discussed the progress of the flight 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 talked to elementary and high school students at a summer camp in Saskatchewan, Canada. He then continued his work with the Microgravity Vibration Isolation Mount which uses magnets to levitate a platform and protect sensitive microgravity processing experiments from vibrations.
Brown and Rominger continue to watch over Shuttle systems and perform periodic orbital adjustment burns to keep Discovery within the desired distance window to the CRISTA-SPAS satellite that is independently gathering atmospheric data. Currently Discovery is leading the SPAS satellite by about 46 n.m.
The science efforts associated with the STS-85 mission are not confined to activities on Discovery. The data being gathered by the orbiting CRISTA-SPAS satellite is being coordinated with ground-launched rocket and balloon validation flights from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, VA. One of the International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker (IEH) payload experiments - SEH - had a cooperative science activity earlier today with a missile launch from the White Sands facility in New Mexico. The missile was launched at 1:18 p.m. CDT today. At the time of launch, Discovery was 160 n.m. above the Pacific Ocean, just off the west coast of Canada.
Discovery’s crew will receive a wake up call from Mission Control early tomorrow morning at 12:41 a.m. Tuesday morning to begin their sixth day of on orbit operations.
The next scheduled mission status report will be issued about 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning
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