Columbia’s astronauts issued a special greeting today, wishing the United States a happy birthday on this July 4th holiday as they orbited 185 miles over the surface of the Earth.
That greeting came at the end of an interview with the Cable News Network late this morning. In that interview, Commander Jim Halsell, Pilot Susan Still, Payload Commander Janice Voss, Mission Specialist Don Thomas and Payload Specialists Greg Linteris and Roger Crouch discussed the pace of the scientific investigations being conducted on board.
The Blue team crew members, Voss, Crouch and Mission Specialist Mike Gernhardt will continue around-the-clock support of more than 30 investigations to study flame behavior and combustion in microgravity, as well as plant and crystal growth.
Shortly after the Blue team awoke at 11 a.m. central time, the flight control team in Houston sent its own holiday greetings playing Kate Smith’s "God Bless America" to the seven-member crew. Mission Control also notified the crew of the Mars Pathfinder landing at 12:06 p.m. central time today. Commander Jim Halsell responded to the information saying the successful landing and upcoming activities were "very exciting." The Shuttle Mission Control team transmitted "congratulations and continued success on your most important endeavor" to their counterparts at JPL.
The Red team began an eight-hour sleep period shortly after 3 p.m. and will awaken just after 11 p.m. central time today to once again assume responsibility for orbiter and science operations.
While Columbia’s crew continue its science efforts aboard the Shuttle, the three person crew aboard the Russian space station Mir are busy preparing for the arrival of the next Progress resupply vehicle. The Progress launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan is targeted for late today at 11:11 p.m. CDT. An on-time launch of Progress would happen with Columbia located at 27 degrees south latitude, 69 degrees east longitude, flying above the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.
Columbia’s systems continue to operate properly, providing a stable platform for microgravity science operations. The next STS-94 status report will be issued about 6 am. central time.
- end -