Discovery’s astronauts were awakened at 6 a.m. Central time this morning by Andy Williams’ rendition of the 1962 Academy Award winning song, "Moon River." Annie Glenn requested the song as a tribute to the longstanding friendship between Williams and her husband, Payload Specialist John Glenn. The seven crew members are looking forward to some free time today, following yesterday’s successful deployment of the Spartan solar physics satellite, which will study the outer layers of the sun’s atmosphere until it is retrieved by Discovery tomorrow.
Work will continue today with a wide variety of science experiments on board, although at a somewhat slower pace. Payload Specialist Chiaki Mukai and Mission Specialist Scott Parazynski – both physicians – will draw blood from Glenn and Mission Specialist Pedro Duque of Spain as part of the Protein Turnover Experiment, which assesses the body’s breakdown and metabolism of protein before, during and after space flight.
Mukai and Glenn, each of whom wore an electrode net on their heads, as well as other measuring devices, during last night’s sleep period, will complete some cognitive performance tests as part of their participation in the sleep study. The cognitive tests will include measurements of how quickly they respond to light cues on a lap-top computer.
Glenn and Mukai will don the electrode net again before turning in this evening. The electrodes are connected to a digital sleep recorder that monitors brain waves, eye movements, muscle tension, body movements and respiration. Mukai will swallow a capsule containing either melatonin or a placebo as part of the study before going to sleep.
Parazynski will check the status of components of the Hubble Space Telescope Orbital Systems Test (HOST) payload, which provides an on-orbit test bed for hardware that will be used during the third Hubble servicing mission. Parazynski and Pilot Steve Lindsey also will set up some of the tools that will be used during Tuesday’s rendezvous and subsequent capture and reberthing of the Spartan satellite. Steve Robinson will use the Shuttle’s robot arm to grapple Spartan tomorrow afternoon after Discovery completes its rendezvous with the sun-watching probe.
Other science activities today will include the collection of video data from the Advanced Gradient Heating Facility (AGHF) used for directional solidification and crystal growth, and from the Microgravity Glovebox (MGBX), which is used for investigations of colloids, or systems of fine particles suspended in fluid. Parazynski also will complete the 5th feeding of the bone cell culture that is part of the OSTEO experiment, an evaluation of bone cell activity under microgravity conditions.
Commander Curt Brown will spend some time this morning working with the Electronic Nose device, which was developed to detect, identify and quantify a wide range of organic and inorganic molecules and provide a comprehensive measurement of on-board air quality.
Mukai will be busy checking on the Vestibular Function Experiment Unit (VFEU), which holds two toadfish. The fish are electronically monitored to determine the effect of gravitational changes on the balance system in the inner ear. She also will monitor the Astroculture-8 facility that is designed to provide a controlled environment in which to grow plants in the weightlessness of space.
At 9:55 a.m. Central time, Brown, Duque and Glenn will receive a congratulatory call from Esperanza Aguirre, the Education Minister of Spain. Duque, the first Spaniard to fly in space, also will take questions from school children representing 17 regions of Spain.
At 4:00 p.m. Central time, Brown and Glenn will take part in unilateral interviews with the five major U.S. television networks.
Discovery is orbiting the Earth every 95 minutes at an altitude of about 349 statute miles with all systems operating in excellent condition.
The next STS-95 status report will be issued at approximately 6 p.m. Central time Monday.
- end -