Discovery’s crew spent much of the last half of today in preparation for tomorrow’s planned release of the Spartan solar science satellite, checking out the tools and equipment that will be used during the release and separation from the satellite.
The crew also began several of the medical studies planned for the flight that investigate how the human body changes in weightlessness and how those changes compare with those that occur as part of the natural aging process on Earth. For those studies, 77-year old Payload Specialist John Glenn began providing some of the 10 blood samples and 16 urine samples that will be taken during the mission to study the effects of space flight on his body.
The checkout of equipment that will be used for tomorrow’s deploy of the Spartan included a check of the Orbiter Space Vision System by astronauts Steve Robinson and Scott Parazynski. The system uses special markings on the satellite and shuttle cargo bay to provide an alignment aid for the arm’s operator derived from shuttle television images. It will be used extensively on the next Space Shuttle flight in December, STS-88, as an aid in using the arm to join together the first two International Space Station modules. Later this evening, a check of navigation equipment and aids that will be used during the Spartan release was scheduled.
Glenn and Commander Curt Brown also took time out from the experiment work to speak with students in Ohio and Virginia about the scientific activities aboard Discovery. Discovery remains in excellent condition with no equipment problems to interrupt the ongoing research.
The shuttle is orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes at an altitude of about 340 statute miles. The crew is scheduled to go to sleep tonight at 10:35 p.m. and awaken at 6:35 a.m. Central on Sunday.
The next status report STS-95 status report will be issued at approximately 7 a.m. Central Sunday.
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