Red Team crew members Jim Halsell, Susan Still, Don Thomas and Greg Linteris got the opportunity Sunday to show ground observers what it’s like living and working in the space environment as they participated in a media interview and sent television of their choice to Earth. The four completed their 13th flight day of the STS-94 mission with successful runs on a variety of materials processing experiments. The Blue Team of Janice Voss, Mike Gernhardt and Roger Crouch picked up responsibility for experiment operations shortly after 2 p.m. CDT Sunday.
During a wide-ranging interview Sunday morning with the ABC Radio Network, the Red Team talked about MSL-1 combustion experiments and noted the importance of studying the process in space, commenting that even small improvements in the process of combustion in Earth-based use could mean great savings in money and resources..
Halsell, asked if he was concerned about aging space hardware, replied that space shuttle orbiters are designed for 100 flights each and that Columbia, "queen of the fleet," was less than one third through its projected lifetime. He noted the excellent maintenance the orbiters get during pre-launch preparations at Kennedy Space Center.
Asked by the interviewer what it was like being in space, Still likened it to being under water. "You don’t have a good feel for which end is up," she said and described the whole process of living and working in space as "fascinating."
The astronauts sent television of their choice to the ground around midday illustrating the concept that there is no up or down in space and showing a procedure to gather microbial samples from the shuttle’s potable water system.
Columbia continues to orbit the Earth every 90 minutes at an altitude of approximately 184 statute miles. All spacecraft systems are in good order with no significant problems being worked by flight controllers in Houston.
The next orbiter status report will be issued at approximately 6 a.m. CDT Monday.
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