SPACE SHUTTLE TO CONDUCT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH MISSION
NEW ORLEANS, LA., 14-JAN-03 -- Space Shuttle Columbia is scheduled to lift off from Kennedy Space Center between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. (CST) Thursday, January 16 on a lengthy research mission. Since Columbia is not rendezvousing with the International Space Station, the window for launch is much wider at 2 1/2 hours.
The seven astronauts will tackle over 80 experiments on the 16-day science mission. Taking advantage of zero gravity, the crew will perform a number of biology studies such as testing how gravity affects cell evolution, showing connections between bone cells and prostate cancer, and demonstrating how micro-gravity influences illness and recovery.
Other experiments will examine bone loss during space travel while at the same time comparing muscle loss and gain in human beings. The scientific experiments will also study the ozone layer and measure solar radiation on Earth.
Also traveling with this crew is the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, to ever fly in space.
The astronauts will arrive in space on the back of the External Tank, which carries the liquid propellants used in the orbiter’s three main engines, thus powering the Space Shuttle to orbit. Lockheed Martin builds the External Tank at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
During launch Harry Wadsworth will be at Michoud Operations and can be reached at 257-0094 or by pager at 504-572-8233.
NASA Television will carry the launch “live” on GE-2, Transponder 9C at 85 degrees west longitude, vertical polarization, with a frequency of 3880 Mhz, and audio of 6.8 Mhz.
Opportunities to view the Space Shuttle in orbit can be located at: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/index.html.