Some experiments have run their course aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, but there is more in store as STS-107 science continues around the clock in the Spacehab Research Double Module.
The Structures of Flame Balls experiment, looking at ways of improving engine combustion efficiency, was shut down after a total of 39 tests using 15 different fuel mixtures. A total of 55 flame balls were ignited, including the weakest and leanest flames ever burned. The longest-lived flame burned in space for 81 minutes, part of a total burn time for all flames of 6 1 /4 hours. Oscillating (shrinking and growing) flame balls, which had been predicted theoretically, were observed for the first time.
The Mechanics of Granular Materials test, looking for ways to better understand and deal with soil movement associated with earthquakes, completed its 10th and final run. The Microbial Physiology Flight Experiment expended its eighth and final set of samples looking at yeast and bacteria growth in microgravity. The Canadian-developed Osteoporosis in Orbit also completed its operations.
The Red team, or day shift – Commander Rick Husband, Mission Specialists Kalpana Chawla and Laurel Clark and Israel Space Agency Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon – took time out from microgravity experimentation about 11:30 a.m. CST to chat with the other three spacefarers on orbit – Commander Ken Bowersox, NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit and Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin. At the time, the space station was some 240 miles above Southern Russia while the shuttle was over northern Brazil.
The Expedition Six crew aboard the station concentrated on loading new software on the EXPRESS experiment racks, working with Russian and American experiments and preparing the old Progress for its undocking this week to make room for a new supply craft, scheduled to launch Feb. 2 from the Baikonour Cosmodrome in Khazakstan and dock with the station Feb. 4.
After a 2:39 p.m. CST wake-up to the sounds of “Slow Boat to Rio” by Earl Klugh, the Blue team of astronauts – Payload Commander Michael Anderson, Mission Specialist Dave Brown and Pilot Willie McCool was scheduled to enjoy half a day of rest before resuming research activities concentrating on the Mediterranean Israeli Dust Experiment, which yesterday captured its first observations of dust over the Atlantic. Scientists with the Israel Space Agency reported that preliminary data looks promising.
The next STS-107 status report will be issued Tuesday afternoon, or as events warrant.
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