ASGSB 2003 Annual Meeting Abstracts


PERFORMANCE OF NASA’s AVIAN DEVELOPMENT FACILITY DURING ITS FIRST SPACE SHUTTLE FLIGHT, DECEMBER 2001. John C. Vellinger, Rachel Ormsby, David J. Kennedy, Nathan A. Thomas, L. A. Shulthise, Michael A. Kurk, and George W. Metz.  Space Hardware Optimization Technology, 7200 Highway 150, Greenville, IN 47124.

   The development of Japanese quail embryos was studied during the 16-day mission of space shuttle flight STS-108 in December 2001.  Two NASA-sponsored biological investigations were supported:  bone growth and development of the vestibular system.  The experimental apparatus (“ADF”) was housed in a single space-shuttle middeck locker equivalent and consisted of two carousels capable of rotating so as to create up to 2 g of inertial acceleration; one carousel was rotated at 77.3 rpm to produce 1 g at the specimen position, and the other was held stationary for low-gravity embryo development.  The experiment volume was sealed but ventilated to withstand external pressure reductions to a fraction of a psi. A filtration barrier between the ADF internal atmosphere and cabin atmosphere prevented the escape of formaldehyde vapors in case of an internal fluid leak. The hardware was installed in the space shuttle mid-deck where telemetry was not available, so the entire experiment followed a preplanned, computerized protocol that was executed by a PC-104 stack and nine distributed microprocessors.  Prior to launch, during transfer to the launch pad, during installation in the orbiter, and during flight the following variables were controlled and recorded: internal temperature, internal atmospheric composition consisting of relative humidity, CO2 and O2 concentrations, carousel rotation, egg rotation and fixation protocols. Continuous chart records of performance indicated that all of these measured and controlled parameters remained within specified limits with the exception of the O2 concentration for a brief period during an EVA.  A completely identical ADF was operated as a synchronous control on the ground during the flight.


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