Around-the-clock science investigations continue aboard Columbia with the focus this morning on developing better methods for the efficient use of fossil fuels while reducing emissions and air pollutants.
The seven-astronaut crew of STS-94 – divided into two teams – provides on-orbit assistance to ground controllers throughout the mission conducting these, and as many as 30 other, experiments in the Spacelab pressurized module which is emulating what laboratory work will be like on the future International Space Station.
The Red team of astronauts began its twelfth flight day in space at about midnight with mission Commander Jim Halsell and Pilot Susan Still watching over orbiter systems while Mission Specialist Don Thomas and Payload Specialist Greg Linteris oversee science operations.
Much of Thomas’ day is focused on the Fiber Supported Droplet Combustion experiment in the Spacelab glovebox to assist investigators in what could eventually lead to more efficient utilization of fossil fuels and reduction of air pollutants. Halsell and Still supported the experiment work by periodically turning off the shuttle’s thruster jets to provide a ‘quiet’ environment for Thomas’ work.
Linteris worked on another experiment through the first half of his workday called the Structure of Flame Balls at Low Lewis-number that in the future may lead to the development of improvements in lean burning internal combustion engines – an advancement that holds promise in providing increased efficiency and reduced emissions.
Earlier this morning, Halsell and Still entertained questions from a television station in his home state of Louisiana, with the focus on Halsell’s background and the mission’s objectives.
The Blue team of Janice Voss, Mike Gernhardt and Roger Crouch turned the reins over to the Red team about 1 a.m. today and is scheduled to wake up about noon.
The next status report will be issued about 5 p.m. Saturday.
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