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STS-107/EXP 6 DAILY STATUS 1/20/2003



Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

Columbiaís astronauts conducted scientific studies ranging from the
behavior of granular materials in weightlessness to the effects of
microgravity on fungi, and filmed the sprites associated with
thunderstorms across the globe as their scientific research flight
continued in its fifth day.

Red team members Commander Rick Husband, Mission Specialists Kalpana
Chawla and Laurel Clark and Israeli Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon
conducted additional data takes with the Mechanics of Granular Materials
experiment located in the Spacehab Research Module in Columbiaís cargo
bay. The MGM experiment is providing information on the behavior of
saturated sand when exposed to confining pressures in microgravity. The
experiment could provide engineers valuable data for strengthening
buildings against earthquakes.

The Red team is working what amounts to the day shift on orbit, while the
Blue team --- Pilot Willie McCool, Mission Specialist Dave Brown and
Payload Commander Mike Anderson --- is working the overnight shift. The
division of the two teams into 12-hour shifts assures that scientific
research is conducted round-the-clock.

One of the host of experiments in the Spacehab science lab --- the
Microbial Physiology Flight Experiment --- was monitored by Clark as she
studied how specific fungi react to the absence of gravity for long
periods of time.

Additional data was acquired by Anderson and Ramon with an experiment in
the Combustion Module in the Spacehab --- the study of Laminer Soot
Processes (LSP) --- designed to gain a better understanding of soot
formation, oxidation and radiative properties within flames. Two other
experiments studying flame properties in space in the large Spacehab
furnace are to be conducted throughout the course of the flight.

Work was also accomplished with a series of biomedical experiments
studying the human bodyís response to weightlessness --- particularly
dealing with protein manufacturing in the absence of a gravity
environment, bone and calcium production, the formation of chemicals
associated with renal stones and how saliva and urine change in space
relative to any exposure to viruses. The crewmembers also continued
periodic blood draws to study how their bodies are adapting to the
microgravity environment.

Experiments continued with the MEIDEX cameras in the cargo bay observing
thunderstorms to capture images of sprites, which are associated with
discharges from the tops of thunderclouds into the Earthís upper
atmosphere, and with the SOLSE experiment, studying the amount of ozone
in the Earthís upper atmosphere by using a special imaging spectrometer
in the payload bay to look across the limb of the Earth during
specifically scheduled orbits.

Having been awakened just after 4 p.m. Central time, McCool, Brown and
Anderson planned to continue the more than 80 experiments on board
Columbia. The Red team will begin its eight-hour sleep period just after
8 p.m. Central time. 

This afternoon, flight controllers observed a minor electrical current
spike in one of two systems designed to collect and distribute water
produced from condensation buildup caused by the operation of the cooling
system in the Spacehab Research Module in the cargo bay. 

An identical system sprung a leak under the floorboards of Spacehab last
night and was shut down. The secondary system had been operating normally
until the electrical spike was observed at around 1:15 p.m. A plan was
implemented to reconfigure a valve in Columbia, allowing cool air from
the shuttle to flow into the science module, thus enabling the moduleís
temperatures to remain at a level that will not require the use of
Spacehabís cooling system, while preventing any further buildup of
condensation.

Flight controllers plan to continue their analysis of the Spacehab
cooling issue throughout the night, with no impact expected to science
operations.

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 6 Commander Ken
Bowersox, Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and ISS Science Officer Don
Pettit entered their third month in orbit today with a full complement of
scientific research activities, exercise and routine ISS maintenance
work.

The three ISS crewmembers conducted a number of cardiovascular tests,
unloaded samples from a Zeolite Crystal Growth experiment in the Destiny
laboratory that has completed its work for this Expedition. The Russian
Vozdukh carbon dioxide removal system in the Zvezda Module, which shut
down last week, is now operating normally following the weekend
replacement of a valve. The U.S. segment CO2 removal system, which has
been operating in place of Vozdukh, was powered down as a result of the
Vozdukh revival.

All other station systems are operating normally as are all the systems
aboard the shuttle Columbia, which, like the ISS, is orbiting the Earth
every 90 minutes.

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