Flight day nine activities aboard Discovery today saw the STS-85 crew support the last test of ground commanding capability of a small robotic arm, final data collection and deactivation of several science experiments and a checkout of the equipment that will support satellite retrieval operations Saturday.
Commander Curt Brown, Pilot Kent Rominger, Mission Specialists Jan Davis, Robert Curbeam and Steve Robinson, and Canadian Payload Specialist Bjarni Tryggvason are in an eight hour sleep period and will awaken at 10:41 p.m. CDT.
Friday, Davis watched over the Manipulator Flight Demonstration experiment while Japanese investigators again maneuvered the Small Fine Arm remotely from a control room near Mission Control. This final test completed all of the planned objectives for the prototype of an arm that will be used at the end of a larger Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) arm on the future International Space Station (ISS). Shortly before going to sleep, the crew received a musical thank you -- part of the song "Mr. Robot" by the group Styx -- from the MFD team in Mission Control.
Robinson completed final data takes with the Southwest Ultraviolet Imaging System (SWUIS), mounted to the inside of the middeck hatch window, to observe Comet Hale-Bopp. Today’s data, along with information gathered during three previous sessions, will help investigators understand what the comet is made of and how it is being affected by the solar wind.
Curbeam completed his work with the Bioreactor Demonstration System. More than 30 data runs with human colon cancer cells were completed. Future research on the ISS may reveal a way to halt the growth of these cells or kill them in the human body.
Tryggvason spent his day gathering data with the Microgravity Vibration Isolation Mount (MIM) experiment. The experiment, designed to gather data on how to protect sensitive microgravity processing experiments from spacecraft operation vibrations, is a more advanced version of one that has been flying on Space Station Mir for more than a year.
With landing scheduled for Monday, Brown and Rominger conducted routine communications checks with ground stations in Florida and California to ensure a good link when Discovery is on final
approach to the runway. Forecasters predict favorable conditions for the single landing opportunity
available at the Kennedy Space Center on Monday. While the actual landing time is likely to change following tomorrow’s rendezvous and retrieval of the CRISTA-SPAS satellite, Discovery is expected to touchdown in Florida about 6:14 a.m. CDT.
On Mir today, the Commander Anatoly Solovyev, Flight Engineer Pavel Vinogradov and NASA Astronaut Mike Foale took a brief ride in their Soyuz spacecraft, relocating it to a different docking port. The Mir 24 crew undocked from the Kvant-1 module at 8:30 a.m. CDT and redocked to the transfer node 44 minutes later at 9:14 a.m. CDT. During the fly around, Vinogradov took still photos and Foale recorded video of the damaged Spektr science module, its solar arrays and other parts of the station. Downlink of the video is not expected until Monday.
The next scheduled shuttle status report will be issued about 6 a.m. on Saturday.
- end -