Experiments and activities associated with the Microgravity Science Laboratory payload being carried aboard Columbia are in full swing as the STS-94 crew continue its around-the-clock science investigations.
Commander Jim Halsell and Pilot Susan Still along with Mission Specialist Don Thomas and Payload Specialist Greg Linteris, woke up just before midnight to begin their third day of work in space as the mission’s Red Team.
Activities so far on Flight Day 3 have included Halsell conducting video documentation of some of the MSL experiments and spent some time using the Portable In-Flight Landing Operations Trainer (PILOT) system. PILOT consists of a laptop computer and joystick system that allow the commander and pilot to practice approaches and landings to Kennedy Space Center to maintain proficiency during long spaceflights. Thomas spent the first part of his day working with the glovebox unit and the Internal Flows in a Free Drop experiment. Linteris has been working with the Combustion Module and the Laminar Soot Process experiment.
The Red Team’s afternoon activities will include work with the Expediting the Processing to the Space Station (EXPRESS) rack facility. The EXPRESS unit is designed for quick and easy installation of experiment and facility hardware on orbit and has the same structural and resource connections that racks on the International Space Station will have. An evaluation of transfer capabilities will be performed by Still and Thomas as they transfer the unit from the Shuttle’s middeck area to the Spacelab module.
The Blue Team astronauts, Payload Commander Janice Voss, Mission Specialist Mike Gerhnardt and Payload Specialist Roger Crouch are scheduled to be awakened just after 10 this morning. After a brief handover with their Red Team co-workers, Voss, Gernhardt and Crouch will take over science operations in the Spacelab.
The next STS-94 status report will be issued about 6 p.m. central time.
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