STS78

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STS-78 is a Space Shuttle program mission.

Space Shuttle program
Mission Insignia

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Mission Statistics
Mission:STS-78
Shuttle:Columbia
Launch Pad:39-B
Launch:June 20, 1996 10:49:00.0075 a.m. EDT.
Landing: KSC July 7, 1996 8:37.30 a.m. EDT. Runway 33.
Duration:16 days, 21 hours, 48 minutes, 30 seconds.
Orbit Altitude:173 statute miles (278 km)
Orbit Inclination:39 degrees
Distance Traveled:7 million miles (11 million km)
Crew photo
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Previous Mission:
STS-77
Next Mission:
STS-79

Crew

Mission Parameters

Mission Highlights

The scheduled 15-day, 21-hour STS-78 Life and Microgravity Spacelab (LMS) mission will help set the stage for the International Space Station by studying the effects of long-duration space flight on human physiology and conducting the type of experiments that would fly on the orbital platform. Columbia will climb to a 173 statute mile (278 km) high orbit with a 39-degree inclination to the Earth's equator to allow the seven-member flight crew to maintain the same sleep/wake rhythms they are accustomed to on Earth and to reduce vibrational and directional forces that could affect on-board microgravity experiments.

Once in orbit, the crew will enter the 40 foot (13 m) pressurized Spacelab module to begin the 22 LMS life science and microgravity experiments in the laboratory and in lockers in the middeck area of the orbiter's crew cabin. Thirteen of the life sciences experiments will be devoted to the study of the effects of microgravity on human physiology, while six microgravity experiments will be conducted to produce metallic alloys and protein crystals and study the behavior of fluids and materials processing in the near-weightless environment of space.

The mission's experiments will build on previous Shuttle spacelab flights dedicated to life sciences and microgravity investigations (Spacelab Life Sciences 1 and 2 -- STS-40 and STS-58, and International Microgravity Laboratory 1 and 2 -- STS-42 and STS-65).

Five space agencies (NASA/USA; European Space Agency/Europe; French Space Agency/France; Canadian Space Agency/Canada; and Italian Space Agency/Italy) and research scientists from 10 countries worked together on primary payload of STS-78, Life and Microgravity Spacelab (LMS). More than 40 experiments flown were grouped into two areas: life sciences, which included human physiology and space biology, and microgravity science, which included basic fluid physics investigations, advanced semiconductor and metal alloy materials processing, and medical research in protein crystal growth.

LMS investigations conducted via most extensive telescience to date. Investigators located at four remote European and four remote U.S. locations, similar to what will happen with International Space Station. Mission also made extensive use of video imaging to help crew members perform inflight maintenance procedures on experiment hardware.

Previous life science investigations have delved into what physiological changes take place in microgravity environment; integrated LMS experiments explored why these changes occur. Most extensive studies ever conducted on bone and muscle loss in space. STS-78 marked first time researchers collected muscle tissue biopsy samples both before and after flight. Crew members also were scheduled to undergo Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans almost immediately after landing. Findings from comparison of the biopsy samples, along with various musculoskeletal tests conducted during mission, could lead to effective countermeasures to reduce inflight muscle atrophy.

Other life science investigations: First ever comprehensive study of sleep cycles, 24-hour circadian rhythms and task performance in microgravity. Spacecraft orbiting Earth pass through 16 sunrises and sunsets in single 24-hour period, which could disrupt normal body rhythms. During two 72-hour time blocks, crew members completed questionnaires and measured such functions as eye movement and muscle activity during sleep. In the Performance Assessment Work Station, crew members performed series of drills involving math problems and other mental tests to measure microgravity effects on cognitive, or thinking, skills.

Microgravity science investigations included Advanced Gradient Heating Facility, in which samples of pure aluminum containing zirconia particles were solidified. Could lead to more inexpensive ways to make mixtures of metals and ceramics, particularly useful to the metal casting industry. The Advanced Protein Crystallization Facility is first ever designed to use three methods for growing protein crystals. In Electrohydrodynamics of Liquid Bridges, which focused on changes that occur in a fluid bridge suspended between two electrodes. This research could finds applications in industrial processes where control of a liquid column or spray is used, including in ink-jet printing.

Crew performed in-flight fixes to problem hardware on the Bubble, Drop and Particle Unit (BDPU), designed to study fluid physics.

Orbiter itself played key part in test that could help raise Hubble Space Telescope to higher orbit in 1997 during second servicing mission. Columbia’s vernier Reaction Control System jets were gently pulsed to boost orbiter’s altitude without jarring payloads. Same exercise could be conducted with orbiter Discovery during Mission STS-82 to raise HST’s orbit without impacting its solar arrays.

No significant in-flight problems experienced with orbiter.

See also

External links

Previous Mission:
STS-77
Space Shuttle program Next Mission:
STS-79

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