Space Shuttle Columbia continues to provide a reliable ride for the materials science experiments in the Spacelab module. After 13 full days in orbit, the spacecraft has no significant problems and scientists have been able to work uninterrupted in gathering experiment data.
A press conference with Columbia’s crew is planned for just before 2 a.m. Tuesday morning with reporters at Johnson Space Center, Kennedy Space Center and Marshall Space Flight Center participating.
The astronauts heard a special greeting Monday from Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, speaking to them from the payload operations control center at Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama. Sen. Sessions complimented the crew on its work in microgravity science and its contribution to improving life on Earth.
In downlink television Monday, Red Team members Jim Halsell, Susan Still, Don Thomas and Greg Linteris demonstrated the selection of food available to space travelers aboard the shuttle. The astronauts showed different methods of packaging and preservation as well as preparation in space.
During a mission status briefing today, Lee Briscoe, mission management representative, said that while there were ample supplies on board Columbia, no extension of the mission was being contemplated. Columbia is due to land early Thursday at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Briscoe also noted that the crew reported a small "ding" in one of the orbiter’s overhead windows – a ½ centimeter pit commonly seen on other missions. Such impacts of tiny debris do not affect the flight.
The next orbiter status report will be issued at approximately 6 a.m. CDT Tuesday.
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