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Press Release 95-42


Lori J. Rachul
(Bus: 216/433-8806)

Cleveland Technology Flies on board Space Shuttle Columbia

CLEVELAND, OH -- Work performed by employees of NASA's Lewis Research Center, professors at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and employees of many Ohio companies is represented in seven space experiments flying as part of The Second United States Microgravity Laboratory USML-2 on board Space Shuttle Columbia, STS-73, scheduled for launch at 9:35 a.m. EDT on September 28, 1995.

As a result of these combined efforts, more than $5 million has been infused into Ohio's economy. Although most of the fabrication work was done in-house by Lewis employees and support service contractors, companies in the Cleveland area, such as Westool, Wagner Rustproofing and others throughout Ohio, have supplied either services or parts to support the fabrication of the experiment packages.

Lewis experiments flying on board USML-2 are:

The Surface Tension Driven Convection Experiment-2 (STDCE) and the Oscillatory Thermocapillary Flow Experiment (OTFE) will help scientists to better understand manufacturing processes on Earth and how to improve them by avoiding defects caused by unwanted flows when materials are cooled from a liquid or gaseous form. These experiments will be conducted in the Glovebox Facility, a work area that enables astronauts to perform small experiments in isolation from the spacecraft atmosphere.

The Interface Configuration Experiment (ICE), a Glovebox experiment, will help scientists to predict how liquids and gases interact in the microgravity environment and to develop formulas and rules that predict the movement of fluids. With this knowledge, engineers may be able to make breakthroughs in the design of spacecraft fluid systems-- helping NASA and its international partners move closer toward the reality of building settlements in space.

The Colloidal Disorder-Order Transition Experiment (CDOT), a Glovebox experiment, is the first in a series of space shuttle and space station experiments that will answer fundamental questions of "condensed matter physics," especially in regard to transitions between liquid and solid phases. Data derived from this experiment will help scientists create computer models that can be used to discover and design new materials.

The Fiber Supported Droplet Combustion Experiment (FSDC), a Glovebox experiment, will play a key role in helping scientists improve their understanding of droplet combustion so that combustion processes can be made more efficient with less pollution and improved propulsion and fire hazard control.

The Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) will measure the very slight acceleration forces on the shuttle orbiter as it drifts through space. SAMS will measure, record and downlink disturbances caused by crew activity, equipment operation and thruster firings. By measuring and analyzing microgravity disturbances, scientists hope to determine how these disturbances influence experiment results. This will be the 14th flight of SAMS. The Orbiter Acceleration Research Experiment (OARE) will work in conjunction with SAMS to record small acceleration caused by atmospheric drag on the orbiter, residual gravity gradient forces and other frequency disturbances.

Lewis researchers have been involved in microgravity research since the early 1960s, and are internationally recognized for their contributions to this field. Lewis has flown 51 successful space flight experiments on 19 missions over the last 9 years--representing over 50 percent of all NASA microgravity investigations.

"We have continued to expand our work in the field of microgravity science and space technology research and as a result have emerged as a leader in scientific studies of fluid physics and combustion in microgravity and technologies related to space applications," said William J. Masica, chief of Lewis' Space Experiments Division.

"Today, we have approximately 750 employees developing 35 experiments for the space shuttle and additional experiments for the space station, and our budget has grown from $3 million in FY 1984 to $85 million in FY 1995."

Twenty engineers and scientists from Lewis will be at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., where they will monitor their experiments during the mission.

The USML-2 mission, scheduled to last 16 days, will focus on around-the-clock investigations of the effects of weightlessness on plants, humans and materials. USML-2 includes over 100 experiments ranging from plant growth and crystal growth to fluid flows and fuel combustion.

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