The three blue team astronauts, Payload Commander Janice Voss, Mission Specialist Mike Gernhardt and Payload Specialist Roger Crouch, are studying the behavior of flame balls and soot as the Microgravity Science Laboratory mission is in its first full day on orbit.
These experiments will provide researchers with an improved understanding of the combustion process and may lead to improvements in combustion engines, increasing fuel efficiency and reducing emissions.
The seven-member 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 working 12-hour shifts in two teams, providing around-the-clock support for science operations.
This morning, just before 7 a.m. central time, Mission Specialist Don Thomas told the flight control team in Houston that he and his Red Team crew mates, Commander Jim Halsell, Pilot Susan Still and Payload Specialist Greg Linteris, could see the Mir spacecraft some 60 miles distant from Columbia.
Also this morning, Still performed some troubleshooting activities with the Wireless Data Acquisition System (WDAS) experiment when it experienced difficulty in communicating with its payload support computer. 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.
The Red Team began a planned eight-hour sleep period shortly after 3:30 p.m. today.
Voss, Gernhardt and Crouch also discussed the reflight of Columbia and their science-gathering activities in an interview with the Fox News Channel shortly after 5 p.m. today.
The next STS-94 status report will be issued about 6 a.m. central time Thursday.
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