Columbia launched from Kennedy Space Center on October 18, 19993 at 110:53 AM EDT and landed at Edwards AFB on November 1 at 7:05 AM PDT. The shuttle orbited 225 times at an altitude of 155 nautical miles at an inclination of 155 nautical miles and travelled 5.8 million miles. The mission lasted 14 days, 0 hours, 12 minutes, and 32 seconds.

This was a Spacelab mission and the longest shuttle mission to date.  Shannon Lucid accumulated the most hours for a female astronaut at 838. The first laptop computer was used on this mission.

This was the second dedicated Spacelab Life Sciences mission (SLS- 2). Fourteen experiments were conducted in four areas: regulatory physiology, cardiovascular/cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal and neuroscience. Eight of the experiments focused on crew; six on 48 rodents. Crew collected more than 650 different samples from themselves and rodents, increasing the statistical base for life sciences research. Combined data from SLS-1 and SLS-2 will help build comprehensive picture of how humans and animals adapt to weightlessness.

Cardiovascular investigations: Inflight Study of Cardiovascular Deconditioning; Cardiovascular Adaptation to Zero Gravity; Pulmonary Function during Weightlessness. Regulatory physiology investigations: Fluid Electrolyte Regulation during Space flight; Regulation of Blood Volume during Space flight; Regulation of Erythropoiesis in Rats during Space flight; Influence of Space flight on Erythrokinetics in Man. Musculoskeletal investigations: Protein Metabolism during Space flight; Effects of Zero Gravity on the Functional and Biochemical Properties of Antigravity Skeletal Muscle; Effects of Microgravity on the Electron Microscopy, Histochemistry and Protease Activities of Rat Hindlimb Muscles; Pathophysiology of Mineral Loss during Space flight; Bone, Calcium and Spaceflight. Neuroscience investigations: Study of the Effects of Space Travel on Mammalian Gravity Receptors; Vestibular Experiments in Spacelab.

For one of the neurovestibular experiments, the Rotating Dome Experiment, crew worked with first flight prototype of Astronaut Science Advisor (ASA), a laptop computer designed to assist astronauts conducting experiments; also called “principal investigator in a box” because it can increase efficiency of experiment activities.

Six rodents were killed and dissected during mission, yielding first tissue samples collected in space and not altered by re-exposure to Earth’s gravity.

Other experiments: Orbital Acceleration Research Experiment (OARE); Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX); Pilot Inflight Landing Operations Trainer (PILOT), portable laptop computer simulator to allow pilot and commander to maintain proficiency for approach and landing during longer missions.

Columbia was crewed by Commander John E, Blaha, Pilot Richard A Searfoss, Mission Specialists M. Rhea Seddon, William S. MacArthur, David A. Wolf, and Shannon W. Lucid, and Payload Specialist Martin Fettman


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