The red team of STS-94, Commander Jim Halsell and Pilot Susan Still along with Mission Specialist Don Thomas and Payload Specialist Greg Linteris have been busy continuing the payload activation process begun by their blue team counterparts as the research efforts of the Microgravity Science Laboratory (MSL-1) mission get into full swing.
The STS-94 crew will spend more than two weeks studying the properties of combustion and the behavior of metals, materials and fluids in the absence of gravity. The astronauts are split into two teams working 12-hour shifts to provide around-the-clock operations in the pressurized Spacelab science module.
Shortly after waking up just before midnight, Halsell and Still set up the bicycle ergometer in the Shuttle’s middeck area. Each of the STS-94 crewmembers will use the bicycle for exercise during the flight. Thomas activated the Large Isothermal Furnace (LIF) experiment and the Expedite the Processing of Experiments to the International Space Station (EXPRESS) rack while Linteris continued the activation of Protein Crystal Growth experiments.
Remaining activities in the red team’s day will include the setup and checkout of the Wireless Data Acquisition System (WDAS) experiment. This is a proof of concept payload that uses wireless RF signals to relay data from temperature sensors in the payload bay and Spacelab module. Analysis of future Space Station operation requirements indicate that there may be a need for real time monitoring of temperature readings in various parts of the station and a system such as the WDAS could meet that need.
Columbia’s blue team of astronauts, Janice Voss the payload commander, Mission Specialist Mike Gernhardt and Payload Specialist Roger Crouch will wake up shortly after 9 this morning to begin its second day of work in space.
The blue team will conduct an interview beginning at 5:17 this afternoon with the Fox News Channel to discuss the reflight of Columbia and a second chance at accomplishing the MSL science goals.
The next STS-94 status report will be issued later today.
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