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Thursday, April 30, 1998, 6 a.m. CDT
STS-90 Mission Control Center Status Report # 27

Mission Control awakened Columbia’s seven astronauts at 4:09 a.m. CDT this morning to complete their second week of research into how the nervous system adapts to the weightless environment of space.

Flight controllers worked overnight reviewing information and evaluating possible solutions to an apparent blockage in Columbia’s waste water dump line. They believe the problem is most likely caused by a clogged filter, and Searfoss and Altman have been asked to try an in-flight maintenance procedure to bypass the filter. The problem should have no impact on mission operations or duration.

Members of the Mission Management Team are expected to meet later this morning and make a final decision about whether to extend the Neurolab mission by an additional day. Landing currently is set for 11:09 a.m. Central Time on Sunday, May 3. Columbia has ample consumable supplies to support a mission extension.

Today’s activities will focus on the efforts of Neurolab’s Neuronal Plasticity Team to better understand how the adult nervous system adapts to the new environment of space. Columbia’s science crew -- Mission Specialists Rick Linnehan and Dave Williams and Payload Specialists Jay Buckey and Jim Pawelczyk – will perform the second and final in-flight dissections of the adult male rats on board. The crew is scheduled to euthanize and dissect nine rats and remove the vestibular or balance organs of the inner ear; the cerebellum, the part of the brain critical for maintaining balance and for processing information from the limbs so they can be moved smoothly; and the cerebrum, one part of which controls automatic functions such as body temperature regulation and the body’s internal clock, and the cortical region that controls cognitive functions such as thinking. The first dissection, which was performed on the second day of the flight, went extremely well, according to Neurolab scientists.

While the science crew works in the Spacelab module, Commander Rick Searfoss and Pilot Scott Altman once again will use the Portable In-flight Landing Operations Trainer (PILOT) to help them maintain a high level of proficiency for the end-of-mission approach and landing tasks required to bring Columbia safely back to Earth after this long mission. PILOT consists of a laptop computer and joystick system that allows the flight crew to simulate approaches and landings to the Kennedy Space Center to maintain their piloting skills.

Searfoss and Linnehan will take time from their schedule this afternoon for an interview with ZDF German Television. This event, which will air at 2:45 p.m. Central Time, will be carried on NASA Television.

Columbia remains in a 153 x 133 nautical mile orbit, circling the Earth every 90 minutes.

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

UPCOMING EVENTS ON NASA TV Thursday, April 30, 1998



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


MISSION STATUS BRIEFING/ 13/02:11 03:30 PM 04:30 PM

FLIGHT DAY HIGHLIGHTS 13/03:41 05:00 PM 06:00 PM

CREW ACTIVITY REPORT / 13/04:41 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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