Ten days since being launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Columbia continues to orbit the Earth in excellent condition, providing a platform for more than 30 separate scientific investigations. Onboard the Shuttle, the STS-94 crew, split into two teams, continues around-the-clock work in support of the Microgravity Science Laboratory.
Before finishing up their Flight Day 10 activities and going to bed early this morning, blue team crewmembers Mike Gernhardt and Roger Crouch conducted an interview with CBS’ "Up to the Minute" program during which they discussed the activities and progress that had been made so far on the STS-94 flight. Gernhardt, Crouch and with Payload Commander Janice Voss began an eight-hour sleep period just after 3 a.m.
Also near the end of the blue team’s day, Voss and Gernhardt began an in-flight maintenance activity to troubleshoot a problem with a television camera on the TEMPUS experiment. Shortly after they began to remove the two dozen plus screws on a TEMPUS panel, the crew found that several of the screws would not rotate. Flight controllers told the crew to suspend the activity until officials at the Payload Operations Control Center (POCC) at the Marshall Space Flight Center had an opportunity to study the problem further.
After awakening just before midnight, the red team took responsibility for the management of science operations aboard the Shuttle around 1 a.m.
For the red team, Don Thomas worked with the Middeck Glovebox unit and the Fiber Supported Droplet Combustion (FSDC) experiment while Greg Linteris spent time with the Droplet Combustion Experiment (DCE). Both FSDC and DCE are gathering combustion data not possible on Earth because of gravity-induced buoyancy flows. Information learned from these experiments may contribute to cleaner and safer use of fossil fuels and reduced air pollutants.
In the afternoon, Thomas will continue his work with FSDC while Linteris will shift his attention to the Combustion Module and the Structure of Flame Balls at Low Lewis-number (SOFBALL). SOFBALL studies stationary spherical flames and the major elements of the combustion process. Data from SOFBALL may aid in development of improvements in lean-burning internal combustion engines, an advancement that holds the promise of providing increased efficiency and reduced emissions. The research also could lead to improvements in fire safety for mine shafts, chemical plants, and spacecraft.
Following the next handover with their blue team counterparts just after 12 noon, the blue team will once again assume responsibility for the management of science operations aboard the Shuttle around 1:00 p.m. this afternoon.
This evening, as the blue team winds up their efforts, Gernhardt and Crouch will conduct an interview with CONUS Communications. The interview will take place at 7:32 p.m. CDT and will have participation from television stations in Cleveland, Roanoke and Atlanta.
The next MCC status report will be issued later today about 6 p.m.
- end -