Status Report

STS-107 Status Report #12 January 26, 2003 – 5:00 p.m. CST

By SpaceRef Editor
January 26, 2003
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STS-107 Status Report #12  January 26, 2003 – 5:00 p.m. CST

Scientific research continued aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia today
as the STS-107 mission headed into the homestretch with a variety of
experiments in multiple disciplines.

The Red team of astronauts, working by day, and the Blue team, working
by night, maintained a round-the-clock presence in the SPACEHAB Double
Research Module, tending to dozens of experiments as scientists
reported excellent results. Temperatures in SPACEHAB were maintained at a
comfortable 73 degrees, despite the loss of two dehumidifiers earlier in
the mission. All of the animals involved in life science experiments were
reported to be in good shape along with SPACEHAB hardware.

Red team crewmembers Rick Husband, who is Columbia’s Commander, Mission
Specialists Kalpana Chawla and Laurel Clark and Israeli Payload
Specialist Ilan Ramon conducted more experiments involving the study of flames
in space in a special Combustion Module in the SPACEHAB.

More investigations were conducted into the effect of dust storms on
the atmosphere with multispectral cameras in Columbia’s cargo bay. The
MEIDEX experiment focused on plumes of dust in the Mediterranean region
and in the Middle East as well as sprites in the targeted areas of
interest. Science controllers reported the first successful digital downlink
of imagery from the experiment as well as the observance of significant
amounts of dust in the observed regions.

A suite of student experiments called STARS yielded the hatching of a
fish in an aquatic facility and the successful emergence of a silk moth
from its cocoon. STARS contains a half dozen student developed
experiments ranging from the study of Australian spiders to the analysis of
spaceflight’s effects on carpenter bees from Liechtenstein.

The Biopack experiment involving the study of weightlessness on
biological samples continued to produce what was described as excellent data
for its team of researchers despite the loss of freezer and incubator
capability for the storage of samples.

Blue team crewmembers Willie McCool, who is Columbia’s Pilot, Payload
Commander Mike Anderson and Mission Specialist Dave Brown were awakened
for their night shift shortly after 2:30 p.m. Central time. They
planned to conduct final combustion studies with the SOFBALL experiment
tonight after which the Combustion Module will be reconfigured for the Water
Mist experiment, studying fire suppression techniques in spaceflight.

The Blue team will spend some time refreshing water for 13 rodents in
the Animal Enclosure Module in SPACEHAB. Data is being acquired on the
effect of microgravity on the rodents’ neurovestibular system. Now that
SPACEHAB temperatures have cooled again, sound mufflers were
reinstalled on the animal enclosure compartments.

More data will also be received tonight from the SOLSE experiment,
which uses imaging devices in the shuttle’s cargo bay to study the Earth’s
ozone layer. Earlier today, the crew downlinked digital video of the
Middle East with breathtaking views of Israel, the Red Sea and the Sinai
Peninsula. The video also contained scenes of life and work on orbit
involving the seven astronauts.

Columbia’s systems continue to function perfectly as the shuttle orbits
at an altitude of about 180 statute miles.

Flying slightly higher, the Expedition 6 crew aboard the International
Space Station is now in its 10th week in space. Commander Ken Bowersox,
Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit
spent a quiet Sunday, enjoying the views of Earth from orbit while
conducting a minor maintenance procedure involving a hatch window in the
Unity module. Station systems are also functioning normally.

The space travelers aboard Columbia and the ISS will have a chance to
talk to one another Monday in a brief ship-to-ship hookup scheduled at
11:34 a.m. Central time. At the time of the ship-to-ship call, Columbia
will be orbiting over northern Brazil, while the ISS sails over
southern Russia.

The next STS-107 status report will be issued Monday afternoon, or
earlier, if events warrant.

SpaceRef staff editor.