Columbia’s astronauts will spend another night and morning working with science investigations in a unique hands-on facility, this time concentrating on how a certain type of flame responds in microgravity.
The crew awoke at 4:46 p.m. Central time to the Florida State University fight song, played in honor of Mission Specialist Winston Scott, who received a music degree from that school.
Commander Kevin Kregel and his crew planned to perform a status check on the SPARTAN satellite and the portable computer rendezvous support software in preparation for a possible redeployment of the solar science probe later in the flight. Mission managers are scheduled to meet Monday to decide whether to attempt another deployment of the satellite next week. SPARTAN was returned to the payload bay during a space walk by Scott and Takao Doi Monday night after failing to activate following its release from the shuttle’s robot arm a week ago.
After finishing one microgravity experiment involving metal alloys, Mission Specialist Kalpana Chawla will shift her focus to the Enclosed Laminar Flames experiment. Chawla will study the effects of different air flow velocities on the stability of an enclosed jet diffusion flame—the kind used in industrial combustion processes and jet afterburners. Researchers hope to optimize the performance of such flames for industrial purposes such as reducing pollution emissions and transferring heat.
Ukrainian Payload Specialist Leonid Kadenyuk, who spoke with his country’s president earlier this morning before turning in for an eight-hour sleep period, will continue work with the Collaborative Ukrainian Experiment studying plant growth in weightlessness and will downlink some videotape of seed germination. Students in the U.S. and Ukraine plan to compare their ground-based experiment results with plants, soybeans and moss growth on Earth with those recorded by Kadenyuk on orbit.
The United States Microgravity Payload experiments continue to operate in the payload bay in fine fashion as Columbia orbits with its payload bay facing the Earth and tail facing in the direction of travel to support the solidification of semiconductor materials in the Advanced Automated Directional Solidification Furnace. Scientists hope to use the results to develop better methods of controlling he solidification process in space and in Earth-bound factories.
Columbia is flying problem-free at an altitude of about 175 statute miles.
The next STS-87 mission status report will be issued at about 6 a.m. Saturday.
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