STS-81

OSTEO Team Scientists

 

 

 



Principal Investigator: M. Hughes-Fulford

V. Vincent was born in Southern California and lived there until she finished her graduate studies. After graduation from Westchester High School in 1986, she attended California State University, Long Beach. She majored in Physiology and minored in Chemistry. She attended Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec during her junior year and graduated from CSULB with a BS degree in 1991. She also recieved her M.S. in Biology from CSULB in 1994. Her thesis research was done under the guidence of Dr. L. S. Klig, characterizatized the phospholipid and sphingolipid composition and biosynthesis in the pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans . She is the second in command for the Osteo Team. When asked about her feelings about working on the experiments she said: "For me, this experience has been amazing. To watch the Space Shuttle launch knowing it carries your experiments is exhillerating! It is a wonderful feeling to know that you are contributing to the future of space science and exploration as well as helping people suffering from osteoporesis here on earth."

W. Szeto is a graduate from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and a M.A. in Biology. His studies at UCSC focused mainly on plant developmental biology, specifically signal transduction pathways which regulate flower development in the model system Arabidopsis thaliana. When asked for his impressions of working on this experiment he said ÒAs a member of the OSTEO team, I am excited to study analogous pathways which regulate bone growth in changing environments. As a native of the Bay Area, I can think of no better backdrop to conduct research which will one day enlighten our knowledge of how truly diverse our universe is".

K. Gasuad was raised in Orange, California for most of her life, She attended Orange High School where she discovered her interest for Chemistry. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. During her last year as an undergraduate at UCSC, She gained experience in lab research by writing her thesis and studying Heat Shock proteins in isochrysis galbana (brown algae). This study was to understand HSP60 and its role as a biological marker for toxicty in the marine food chain. With this experience, she took interest in becoming partof a research team that is investigating medical health issues, such as osteoporosis. She relates "I am honored to be part of this project, not only because Iwork with a distinguished group of scientists, but also to become a part of team that is involved with the exploration of space science."

C. S. Yu
I graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. degree in biochemistry. I'm currently working as a Lab Technician in Dr. Millie Hughes-Fulford's lab. Although I've only been at this job for a few weeks, I'm excited about the new things that I learned each day in the lab. What's more exciting is the Osteo experiment with NASA, because I'd never thought about finding a job that will relate my study in school and my interest with the space shuttles. I'm looking forward to working with my coworkers on this project and hopefully we will obtain useful results from our experiments.

 

Crew


STS-81 CREW PORTRAIT --- These seven astronauts are in training for the STS-81 mission, scheduled for launch in December, 1996. Astronaut Michael A. Baker (front right) is mission commander and will be joined on the forward flight deck by astronaut Brent W. Jett, pilot. On the back row, left to right, are astronauts John W. Grunsfeld, John E. Blaha, Peter J. K. (Jeff) Wisoff, Jerry M. Linenger and Marsha S. Ivins, all mission specialists. All but Blaha will be launched aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis and those six will be joined by the Mir cosmonaut guest researcher when the two spacecraft are joined in Earth-orbit. Blaha will have been launched into Earth-orbit to connect with Russia's Mir Space Station on an earlier Space Shuttle Atlantis, STS-79 mission, scheduled for launch in August, 1996. Linenger will remain onboard the Mir Space Station for a tour of duty as a cosmonaut guest researcher.

PHOTO CREDIT: NASA or National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The continuing cooperative effort in space exploration between the United States and Russia will be the focus of NASA's first Shuttle mission of 1997 with the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on Mission STS-81.

This is the fifth of nine planned missions to Mir and the second one involving an exchange of U.S. astronauts. Astronaut John Blaha, who has been on Mir since September 19, 1996, will be replaced by astronaut Jerry Linenger. Linenger will spend more than four months on Mir. He will return to Earth on Space Shuttle Mission STS-84, scheduled for launch in May 1997.

Atlantis will again be carrying the SPACEHAB module in the payload bay of the orbiter. The double module configuration will house experiments to be performed by Atlantis' crew along with logistics equipment to be transferred to Mir.

The STS-81 crew will be commanded by Michael A. Baker who will be making his fourth Shuttle flight. The pilot, Brent W. Jett, Jr., will be making his second flight. There are four mission specialists assigned to this flight. Peter J.K. "Jeff" Wisoff, serving as Mission Specialist-1, is making his third flight. Mission Specialist-2 John M. Grunsfeld is making his second space flight. Marsha S. Ivins serving as Mission Specialist-3 is making her fourth space flight. Jerry M. Linenger will be Mission Specialist-4 for launch through docking with Mir. Shortly after docking, Linenger and Blaha will conduct their handover with Linenger becoming a member of the Mir crew and Blaha becoming Mission Specialist-4 through the end of the flight.

Atlantis is targeted for an early morning launch on or about January 12, 1997 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39-B. The current launch time of 4:27 a.m. EST may vary by a few minutes based on calculations of Mir's precise location in space at the time of liftoff due to Shuttle rendezvous phasing requirements. The STS-81 mission is scheduled to last 10 days, 3 hours, 30 minutes. An on-time launch on January 12 and nominal mission duration would have Atlantis landing back at Kennedy Space Center on January 22 at about 8 a.m. EST.

Atlantis' rendezvous and docking with the Mir actually begin with the precisely timed launch setting the orbiter on a course for rendezvous with the orbiting Russian facility. Over the next two to three days, periodic firings of Atlantis' small thruster engines will gradually bring the Shuttle within closer proximity to Mir.

The STS-81 mission is part of the NASA/Mir program which consists of nine Shuttle-Mir dockings and seven long duration flights of U.S. astronauts aboard the Russian space station. The U.S. astronauts will launch and land on a Shuttle and serve as Mir crew members while the Mir cosmonauts use their traditional Soyuz vehicle for launch and landing. This series of missions will expand U.S. research on Mir by providing resupply materials for experiments to be performed aboard the station as well as returning experiment samples and data to Earth.

The current Mir 22 mission began when cosmonauts Valeri Korzun and Aleksandr Kaleri were launched on August 17, 1996, in a Soyuz vehicle and docked with the Mir two days later. John Blaha joined the Mir 22 crew with the September 19, 1996, docking of STS-79. Blaha will complete his stay on Mir and return with the STS-81 crew. Linenger will work with the Mir 22 crew until the arrival of Mir 23 cosmonauts Vasili Tsibliev, Aleksandr Lazutkin and German researcher Reinhold Ewald in early February 1997. After the Mir 22 crew and Ewald return to Earth in a Soyuz, Linenger will complete his tour with the Mir 23 crew. Linenger will be replaced by NASA Astronaut Mike Foale when Atlantis again docks with Mir in May.

The STS-81 mission also will include several experiments in the fields of advanced technology, Earth sciences, fundamental biology, human life sciences, microgravity, and space sciences. Data also will supply insight for the planning and development of the International Space Station, Earth-based sciences of human and biological processes, and the advancement of commercial technology.

STS-81 will involve the transfer of 5,975 pounds of logistics to and from the Mir, the largest transfer of items to date. During the docked phase, 1,400 pounds of water, 1,137.7 pounds of U.S. science equipment, 2,206.1 pounds of Russian logistics along with 268.2 pounds of miscellaneous material will be transferred to Mir. Returning to Earth aboard Atlantis will be 1,256.6 pounds of U.S. science material, 891.8 pounds of Russian logistics and 214.6 pounds of miscellaneous material.

STS-81 will be the 18th flight of Atlantis and the 81st mission flown since the start of the Space Shuttle program in April 1981.

 

STS-81 experiments:

The STS-81 crew landed at Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday January 22, 1997. The samples were off loaded late, but were Federal Expressed to the Lab of Cell Growth the same day, arriving in San Francisco on Thursday. All samples had activated and fixed nominally. The astronaut crew were most efficient in their execution of the experiment, they beat the time of the ground crew. During this time, we are confirming our findings on changes in gene expression in microgravity that were observed on STS-76 and STS-84. we are in the process of studying the morphology changes in the cytoskeleton and nucleus and are writing  manuscripts of our findings.

 

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