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Wednesday, April 29, 1998, 6 a.m. CDT
STS-90 Mission Control Center Status Report # 25

Columbia’s seven astronauts began their thirteenth day of space-based research at 4:29 a.m. Central time this morning to the sound of "Take A Chance On Me" by the musical group Abba, the wake up call from Mission Control, a favorite song of Payload Specialist Jay Buckey.

As the Neurolab mission enters its final few days, the four members of Columbia’s payload crew -- Mission Specialists Rick Linnehan and Dave Williams and Payload Specialist Buckey and Jim Pawelczyk – will continue their investigations into how the human nervous system adapts to the weightless environment of space.

Williams, Buckey and Pawelczyk once again will take part in a variety of human autonomic experiments designed to examine blood pressure regulation in microgravity. Crew members . will repeat an experiment in which they use an innovative technique called microneurography. This involves placing a very fine needle in a nerve just below the knee, allowing nerve signals traveling from the brain to the blood vessels to be measured directly while the cardiovascular system is challenged using the Lower Body Negative Pressure device. LBNP is a hi-tech canister that pulls bodily fluids into the lower extremities, simulating the effect of standing on Earth.

As they did yesterday, the scientist-astronauts again will infuse radioactively-labeled norepinephrine into their blood streams and collect blood samples for later analysis. Norepinephrine is a chemical messenger that will allow investigators to measure how fast the substance is released into and removed from the blood’s circulation and determine whether the blood pressure control system is underutilized in the absence of gravity.

As part of the Neurolab Mammalian Development Team’s research into gravity’s role in stimulating the proper development of the nervous system, Buckey will anesthetize seven of the rat neonates and inject two of their hind leg muscles with fluorescent cell marker dyes. One muscle is used on Earth to support the animal’s weight, while the other is a non-weight bearing muscle. The label dye will be transported from the muscles, along the nerve cells to the spinal cords of the animals. This research will help determine whether mammals that develop in microgravity will have normally developed muscles.

Columbia remains in a 153 x 133 nautical mile orbit, circling the Earth every 90 minutes. All systems on board continue to operate in excellent fashion.

The next STS-90 status report will be issued about 6 p.m. Wednesday or as events warrant.

UPCOMING EVENTS ON NASA TV Wednesday, April 29, 1998


CANADIAN VIP CALL 11/21:15 10:34 AM 11:34 AM

NASA VIDEO FILE 10/21:41 11:00 AM 12:00 PM

CREW CHOICE TELEVISION 11/23:30 12:49 PM 01:49 PM


FLIGHT DAY HIGHLIGHTS 12/03:41 05:00 PM 06:00 PM

CREW ACTIVITY REPORT / 12/04:41 06:00 PM 07:00 PM FLIGHT DAY HIGHLIGHTS REPLAY / VIDEO FILE REPLAY (replayed every hour on the hour through crew wake up)


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