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Press Release 98-24

Anne M. Teubl
NASA Lewis Research Center
(Bus: 216/433-2901)

Longest-running U.S. Experiment on board MIR returns home

CLEVELAND, OH--When the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-91) returns to Earth today, the NASA Lewis Research Center’s Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) instrument will be on board. The SAMS instrument has accumulated over 3,500 hours of recorded data on the Russian Space Station Mir. The SAMS instrument was flown to Mir on a Russian Progress vehicle in August 1994.

The SAMS instruments, a total of seven have been fabricated by NASA Lewis, measure disturbances to the "weightless" environment on board orbiting spacecraft. These disturbances are vibrations and pulses from various sources on the spacecraft, such as equipment operation, thruster just and crew motions. These disturbances can disrupt the operation and/or results of science experiments operated on board.

The SAMS unit recorded the MIR microgravity environment periodically over the intervening three years and nine months to support a multitude of U.S., Russian and Canadian microgravity science experiments in fluids, combustion, biotechnology and materials.

The SAMS instrument had also spent three months in the Mir Spectr module during the time that module was depressurized after a Progress resupply vehicle collided with Mir. The SAMS instrument has since been retrieved from the Spectr.

This particular SAMS instrument had previously flown on two Shuttle missions, STS-43 and STS-47.

The SAMS instruments have supported similar measurements on 20 Shuttle missions to date and a modified version is planned to operate on the International Space Station.

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