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STS-107 MCC Status Report #16

Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

STS-107 MCC Status Report #16 
Thursday, January 30, 2003 -- 6 p.m. CST 
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas 

Astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia are completing their final
runs on experiments in the Spacehab Research Double Module and beginning
preparations for Saturday’s landing. 

Most of the 80 experiments already have completed their data collection,
and today was the last day for the remaining investigations, in
particular the Water Mist Fire Suppression Experiment (MIST), the
Mediterranean Israeli Dust Experiment (MEIDEX) and the Advanced
Respiratory Monitoring System (ARMS). 

MIST, which got a late start due to problems setting up the test chamber,
is nearing its 30th run as it studies the effectiveness of fog-like water
droplet concentrations in putting out flames. The experiment is sponsored
by the Center for Commercial Applications of Combustion in Space at the
Colorado School of Mines in Golden as part of continuing program to
design replacements for environmentally hazardous chemicals such as

MEIDEX will be recording its final data takes of lightning “sprites” and
“elves,” after successfully imaging a major dust concentration in support
of its primary objective to study how fine dust particles, or aerosols,
affect the Earth’s environment. MEIDEX was sponsored by the Israeli Space
Agency and Tel-Aviv University in association with Payload Specialist
Ilan Ramon’s first space flight for an Israeli. 

Crewmembers also began wrapping up and storing the final blood, urine and
saliva samples they are providing for studies of human physiology
associated with the ARMS cardiovascular experiments and the Physiology
and Biochemistry Team experiments. The samples will be kept at
appropriate temperatures in refrigeration systems in the Spacehab module
for return to Earth and further study. 

And the Biotube experiment, which was activated Wednesday, looked at flax
seeds as they grew in the presence of strong magnetic field. Scientists
on the ground used video downlinks to monitor the length of root growth
to ensure appropriate fixation times. 

Commander Rick Husband and Flight Engineer Kalpana Chawla of the day
shift took turns simulating landing on the PILOT computer-based training
system. Pilot Willie McCool of the night shift will get in his practice
session overnight. Landing is scheduled for 8:16 a.m. CST Saturday and
preliminary forecasts show excellent conditions at the Shuttle Landing
Facility in Florida. If weather decides not to cooperate, there are
plenty of supplies to support the crew until conditions are favorable. 

Husband also peeked under the floor of the Spacehab module to look for
water that might have leaked out of the balky air-conditioning system
earlier in the mission. He reported finding no moisture that could
contaminate Spacehab systems if jostled during Saturday’s re-entry and
landing, but covered several holes in the water sub-assembly with tape as
a precaution. 

The next STS-107 status report will be issued Friday, or as events

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