Three fourths of the way through its 23rd voyage in space, Shuttle Columbia continues to perform near flawlessly while payload controllers collect volumes of data from experiments being conducted by the seven astronauts on the Microgravity Science Laboratory mission.
Commander Jim Halsell, Pilot Susan Still, Mission Specialist Don Thomas and Payload Specialist Greg Linteris are on duty throughout the morning and early afternoon overseeing orbiter systems and science investigations while the remaining three crew members – Payload Commander Janice Voss, Mission Specialist Mike Gernhardt and Payload Specialist Roger Crouch rest.
The Combustion Module continues to be the focus of attention as the astronauts and investigators research methods that could improve fire-fighting techniques on Earth as well as improve the operation and efficiency of combustion engines while reducing air pollution.
Halsell, Still Thomas and Linteris were interviewed by the ABC Radio Network just before 7 a.m. today discussing these and other mission objectives.
Voss, Gernhardt and Crouch have begun shifting their sleep schedules slightly later each day to prepare for Thursday’s planned landing back at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After handing control of the flight over to Halsell and the Red team about 1:30 this morning, the Blue team turned in for an eight hour sleep period set to end with wakeup at about 12:30 this afternoon.
The next status report will be issued about 5 p.m. Saturday.
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