The astronauts will once again remove the Spartan solar science satellite from its berth in Discovery's payload bay for several hours of data collection. Cameras will be pointed at a series of targets on the spacecraft to test the Space Vision System, which uses remote camera views to provide a robot arm operator with the ability to see areas that are out of viewing area.
This morning Mission Specialist Steve Robinson, assisted by Mission Specialist Scott Parazynski, will again test the Orbiter Space Vision System. OSVS uses special markings on Spartan and the shuttle cargo bay to provide an alignment aid for the arm's operator using shuttle television images. It will be used extensively on the next Space Shuttle flight in December as an aid in using the arm to join together the first two modules of the International Space Station.
Robinson will use the shuttle's 50-foot robot arm to grapple Spartan, unlatch it and maneuver it into position. Following the OSVS tests, he will use the Video Guidance Sensor to assist in the reberthing processes. VGS provides precise measurements of how far away the shuttle is from Spartan and how fast it is moving toward or away from the target. VGS is a component of an automated docking system being prepared for use on the International Space Station.
Other crew members will continue work with several of the on-board science experiments. Commander Curt Brown, Lindsey, Robinson and Payload Specialist John Glenn will complete a daily back-pain questionnaire by as part of a study of how the muscle, intervertebral discs and bone marrow change after exposure to microgravity.
Glenn and Japanese Payload Specialist Chiaki Mukai will once again don a sleep net before going to sleep this evening. Each also will wear a special sleep suit. Electrodes on the sleep net and sensors in the sleep suit will monitor brain waves, eye movements, muscle tension, body movements and respiration. The electrodes and sensors are connected to a digital sleep recorder that records a variety of measurements as they sleep. Mukai also will swallow a capsule containing either melatonin or a placebo as part of the sleep study.
Parazynski and Mukai will draw more blood from ESA Mission Specialist Pedro Duque and Glenn as part of the Protein Turnover Experiment (PTO), which is examining muscle atrophy during exposure to microgravity.
Glenn will remove and stow the Holter monitor electrodes and data recorder he has worn for the past 24 hours. The Holter monitor recorded his heart rhythm on orbit, as part of an investigation of heart rate variability during space flight. He also will process blood samples as part of the PTO experiment.
Glenn and Lindsey will spend time with the Astroculture plant-growing experiment, while Parazynski and Duque will collect more video data and photograph the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MGBX) experiments known as Colloidal Disorder-Order Transition and Structural Studies of Colloidal Suspension. Colloids are systems of fine particles suspended in fluid. Researchers hope to learn more about how the organization of atoms changes as they form into orderly solid structures. Duque then will deactivate these two experiments for the remainder of the mission.
Mukai will continue her work with the Japanese Vestibular Function Experiment Unit (VFEU), which holds two toadfish that are electronically monitored to determine the effect of gravitational changes on the inner ear's balance system.
Brown, Lindsey and Glenn will take part in an interview with CBS Radio news and the Tonight Show beginning at 12:30 Central time this afternoon.
Discovery is orbiting the Earth every 95 minutes at an altitude of about 341 statute miles with all systems operating in excellent condition.