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STS-107 [113th Shuttle Mission]
Mission Overview

Space Shuttle mission STS-107 was the 28th flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the 113th shuttle mission to date. This mission was aimed t giving more than 70 international scientists access to the microgravity environment of space, and a set of seven human researchers, for 16 uniterrupted days.

Astronaut Rick Husband (Colonel, USAF) commanded STS-107 and was joined on Columbia's flight deck by pilot William "Willie" McCool (Commander, USN). Columbia was crewed by Flight Engineer (Mission Specialist 2) Kalpana Chawla (Ph.D.), Payload Commander (Mission Specialist 3), Michael Anderson (Lieutenant Colonel, USAF), Mission Specialist 1 David Brown (Captain, USN), Mission Specialst 4 Laurel Clark (Commander, USN) and Payload Specialist 1 Ilan Ramon (Colonel, Israeli Air Force), the first Israeli astronaut.

When Columbia was launched from Kennedy Space Center, it carried a SPACEHAB Research Double Module (RDM) in its payload bay. The RDM is a pressurized environment that is accessible to the crew (while in orbit) via a tunnel from teh shuttle's middeck. Together, the RDM and the shuttle's middeck contained the majority of the mission's experiments.

In the area of physical sciences, the crew was to perform three studies that are isolated inside a large, rugged chambe. These experiments examined the physics of combustion, soot production and fire quenching processes in microgravity. Another experiment compressed granular materials in the absence of gravity to further our understanding of construction techniques - this information can help engineers provide stronger foundations for structures in areas where earthquakes, floods and landslides are common.

A commercially-sponsored facility was used to grow two kinds of protein crystals to study possible therapies against the factors that cause cancers to spread and bone cancer to cause intense pains to its sufferers. Two other experiments were to grow different types of cell cultures - one used to combat prostate cancer, the other to improve crop yield. Another facility for forming protein crystals more purely and with fewer flaws than on Earth may lead to a drug designed for specific diseased with fewer side effects.

The Canadian Space Agency also sponsored three bone-growth experiments on STS-10, and waas collaborating with the European Space Agency on two others. The German Space Agency measured the development of the gravity-sensing organs of fish in the absence of gravity. Students from six schools in Australia, China, Israel, Japan, Lichtenstein and the United States probed the effects of spaceflight on spiders, silkworms, inorganic crystals, fish, bees and ants,, respectively.

There were also six experiments on a pallet in Columbia's payload bay - the fast Reaction Experiments Enabling Science, Technology, Applications and Rsearch (FREESTAR), which is moutned on a bridge-like structure spanning the width of the payload bay. These six-investigations looked outward to the Sun, downward at Earth's atmosphere and inward into the physics of fluid phenomena, as well as test technology for space communications. One Freestar experiment was made up of 11 separate student experiments from schools across the U.S.

On Friday, May 24, 2002, in the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF), processing continues for Columbia's STS-107 microgravity research mission. Workers installed the SPACEHAB/FREESTAR payload into Columbia's payload bay after managers determined the small scratch on a support attachment was not a concern. Installation of Space Shuttle Main Engines and servicing of Freon Loop No. 1 is in work. Previous launch dates were July 11, 2002, April 4, 2002 and before that January 11, 2001.

On Thursday, 1/16/03, the launch countdown proceeded as scheduled. At 9:18 a.m. EST, a go was given to close the hatch. At 10:10 a.m. EST, the countdown clock exited the planned hold at the T-minus 20 minute mark. At 10:31 a.m. EST, the countdown clock came out of the planned hold at the T-minus 9 minute mark. At 10:35 a.m. EST, a go was given for APU start. Launch occurred at the opening of the launch window.

Six U-S astronauts and Israeli Air Force pilot Ilan Ramon took part in the mission which was delayed by technical and scheduling problems for nearly two-years, a fact noted in the pre-launch farewell from the Kennedy Space Center control room.

As usual for every shuttle launch since September 11th, 2001, the U-S space agency NASA was on high alert for any terrorist threat. Colonel Ramon's presence only heightened the alert.

The crew went to the launch pad under heavy police escort, while police on horses and helicopters protected the area and dogs sniffed for bombs.

Military aircraft patrolled a 55-kilometer no-fly zone around the space center and ships were barred from sailing offshore until mission controllers were assured no problem forced the shuttle to return.

NASA coordinated the effort with the U-S Homeland Security Department, which the Bush administration created in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Aboard the shuttle were nearly 90 experiments in a rare mission not supporting construction of the international space station.

Before launch, this was the first shuttle flight devoted exclusively to research in three-and-a-half years.

The U-S Congress mandated this flight because relatively little research is being conducted on the space station while it is undergoing construction.

A deorbit burn occured at 8:15 a.m. EST (1315 GMT) for a planned landing on KSC Runway 33. Communication was lost with Columbia at 9:00am EST while Columbia was at approximately 200,000ft over Central Texas while the vehicle was traveling at 12,500 mph.

Experiments List


  • Biological Reserach in Canisters (BRIC): Development of Gravity Sensitive Plant Cells in Microgravity
  • Biotechnology demonstration System (BDS-05)
  • European Space Agency BIOPACK: Bacterial Physiology and virulence on Earth and in Microgravity
  • Fundamental Rodent Experiments Supporting Health (FRESH-02): Anatomical Studies of Central Vestibular Adapatation
  • Fundamental Rodent Experiments Supporting Health (FRESH-02): : Arterial Remodeling and functional Adapatations nduced by Microgravity
  • Fundamental Rodent Experiments Supporting Health (FRESH-02): choroidal Regulation Involved in the Cerebral fluid Response to Altered Gravity vMagnetic field Apparatus (MFA/BIOTOUBE): Application of Physical and Biological Techniques to Study the Gravisensing and Response System of Plants

Biomedical Research & Countermeasures

  • Clacium Kinetics During Spaceflight
  • Flight Induced Changes in Immune Defenses
  • Incidence of Latent Virus Shedding During Spaceflight
  • Microbial Physiology Flight Experiments: Effects of Microgravity on Microbial Physiology and Spaceflight Effects on Fungal Growth, Metabolism and Sensitivity to Anti-fungal Drugs
  • Protein Turnover During Spaceflight
  • Renal Tone Risk During Spaceflight
  • Sleep-Wake Actigraphy and Light Exposure During Spaceflight

Earth & Space Sciences

  • Mediterranean Israeli Dust Experiment (MEIDEX)
  • Shuttle Ionospheric Modification with Pulsed Localized Exhaust (SIMPLEX)
  • Shuttle Ozone Limb Sounding Experiment-2 (SOLZE-2)
  • Solar Constant Experiment (SOLCON-3)

Physical Sciences

  • Combustion Module-2 (CM-2)
  • Critical Viscosity of Xenon (CVX-2)
  • Laminar Soot Processes-2 (LSP-2)
  • Mechanics of Granular Materials-3(MGM-3)
  • Space Acceleration Measurement System Free Flyer (SAMS-FF) and Orbiter Acceleration Research Experiment (OARE)
  • Structures of flame Balls at Low Lewis-number (SOFBALL)

Space Product Development

  • Commercial Instrumentation Technology Associatse Inc. Bioedical Experimetns Payload (CIBX-2)
  • Commercial Protein Crystal Growth - Protein Crystaliization facility (CPCG-H)
  • Water Mist Fire Suppression Experimetn (MIST)
  • Zeolite Crystal Growth (ZCG)

Technology Development

  • Low Power Transceiver (LPT)
  • Ram Burn Observations (RAMBO)
  • Vapor Compression Distillation Flight Experiment (VCD FE)

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Page last modified: 21-07-2011 00:48:54 ZULU