Michael Braukus Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

September 28, 1993 (Phone: 202/358-1979) Jane Hutchison Ames Research Center, Mountain View, Calif. (Phone: 415/604-4968) RELEASE: 93-173 SHUTTLE MISSION TO CONDUCT SCIENTIFIC FIRST Next month's 14-day Space Shuttle mission will offer scientists unprecedented opportunities to learn more about how life adapts to the microgravity environment of space flight. For the first time in the history of space flight, scientists will collect tissues during the mission. Crew members will draw blood samples from both themselves and rats and will dissect five rats in space. After removing the tissues, astronauts will preserve them for later analysis on Earth. The Spacelab Life Sciences-2 (SLS-2) mission will include 14 experiments that continue research begun during the 1991 SLS-1 mission. The seven crew members and 48 laboratory rats on board will provide scientists with the opportunity to study the effects of microgravity in a comprehensive, interrelated fashion using both human and animal subjects. SLS-2, the second mission dedicated to life sciences research in space, is scheduled for launch from the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., in early October aboard the orbiter Columbia. Experiments managed by NASA's Ames Research Center, Mountain View, Calif., will study how muscles, bones, blood and the balance system of laboratory rats adapt to the microgravity of space

flight. "Our primary goal is to conduct experiments that address important biomedical questions affecting crew health," said Kenneth A. Souza, Chief of Ames' Space Life Sciences Payloads Office. He said the research should increase understanding of how various systems of the mammalian body adapt to microgravity. - more -2"We have seen anemia in astronauts on previous missions, but we don't understand the reasons for the decreased red blood cell mass," he said. Two closely related rat experiments and a complementary study on the crew will provide insights into the changes in the blood system during space flight. NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston manages the human experiments. "Being able to collect and preserve tissues in space will give us the first true picture of how the body changes in response to microgravity," Sousa said. "We know the body begins to readapt to gravity within a couple of hours after returning to Earth." In previous life science experiments on the Space Shuttle, scientists had to wait several hours until ground crews could remove the rats from the orbiter. The rat tissues will be provided to a team of scientists from around the world. In addition to the principal investigators from NASA and 10 academic institutions, Paul D. Savage Jr., Ames' Payload Manager said, 10 scientists from Russia will receive tissues collected in space. An additional 18 Russian, 10 French and four Japanese scientists will study tissues collected pre- and post-flight. Additional requests for analysis of these tissues are being processed. Tissues not yet requested for study will be frozen for later analysis. The rodents will live in two Research Animal Holding Facilities (RAHFs) located in the Spacelab module in the orbiter's payload bay. The RAHFs provide food, water, temperature and air-flow control, waste management and lighting for the animals. Astronauts, including two medical doctors, a cell biologist and a veterinarian, will check the animals' health each day.

Crew members on the STS-58 mission are Commander Col. John Blaha, Pilot Maj. Richard Searfoss, Payload commander Dr. Rhea Seddon, Flight Engineer Lt. Col. William McArthur, mission specialists Dr. David Wolf and Dr. Shannon Lucid and Payload Specialist Dr. Martin Fettman. A veterinarian, Fettman will have primary responsibility for the care of the rats. - end EDITORS NOTE: Audio material regarding this topic is available to the media by calling 202/358-1742.