Columbia’s six-member crew celebrated Thanksgiving with a special meal while continuing work with the microgravity science investigations in a special glovebox facility on the middeck.
As the halfway point in the STS-87 mission approached, commander Kevin Kregel, pilot Steve Lindsey, mission specialists Kalpana Chawla, Winston Scott and Takao Doi, and Ukrainian payload specialist Leonid Kadenyuk celebrated Thanksgiving with a meal of turkey, cranberries pumpkin cookies and pecan pie. The meal was scheduled between 5 and 7 this morning.
Throughout the eighth flight day for the crew, investigations continued in the microgravity glovebox studying the characteristics of creating composite materials in space, and also understanding why different components of certain alloys tend to separate during the melting and freezing process. Potential applications of many of these alloys include ball-bearing, electronic and semi-conductor materials.
Also on the middeck, Kadenyuk continued his work with the plant growth experiment called CUE for the Collaborative Ukrainian Experiment. School students both in the U.S. and the Ukraine also are participating in comparative plant growth studies here on Earth.
The autonomous operations with the mission’s prime payload continue in the payload bay of Columbia with no interaction by the crew required. Yesterday’s small engine firing will maintain the proper altitude for the next four days in support of the United States Microgravity Payload experiments mounted on a support structure in the rear of the orbiter’s payload bay.
Earlier this morning, Kregel, Scott and Doi discussed the mission during an interview broadcast around the world on CNN International.
Crew sleep is scheduled to begin just before eight this morning with the wakeup call scheduled at 3:45 this afternoon.
The next mission status report will be issued at about 6 p.m. today.
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