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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