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(Phone: 202/358-1979) RELEASE: 94-168
October 7, 1994
MIR COSMONAUTS CONDUCT NASA EXPERIMENT Russian cosmonauts have completed the first in a series of U.S. experiments on Mir, marking a major milestone in U.S. microgravity research aboard the Russian space station. NASA's Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) was activated on Tuesday, Oct. 4 by the Mir crew for the first time since arrival of the equipment at the space station on Sept. 3, 1994. Following calibration and check out by the crew, SAMS collected 12 to 14 hours of vibration data as part of an experiment. The SAMS experiment consists of three acceleration sensor heads placed in the planned locations for the NASA Protein Crystal Growth experiment and the Russian Gallar furnace to measure the vibration characteristics of the Mir station. This information is valuable for U.S. investigators who plan to fly their experiments on the Mir next year. This data will be returned to Earth with the Mir-16 crew in November 1994. Low frequency vibrations can adversely affect the results of sensitive microgravity experiments. Vibrations caused by crew movements, equipment operations and occasional thruster firings can temporarily disrupt the quiet low-gravity environment and may affect microgravity science experiments and their results. By studying SAMS data, scientists can make allowances for the disturbance as they analyze their experiment results. This vibration background must be recorded and analyzed, both to allow individual microgravity experiments to correlate the environment with experimental results, and to determine if the experiments must be isolated from any disturbances. The data will be analyzed jointly by U.S. and Russian researchers.
Flying SAMS on Mir meets a U.S. National Research Council recommendation that NASA measure and characterize the vibration environment on all spacecraft carrying chemistry and physics experiments and to pursue strategies for producing the lowest possible gravity conditions. -more-2SAMS instruments have been flown a combined total of ten times on the Space Shuttle. SAMS was one of three separate NASA instruments flown to the Mir on a Russian Progress space vehicle. The others included: the Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counter (TEPC) and the Mir Interface to Payload Systems - 1 (MIPS-1). TEPC is a dosimetry package that will measure and characterize the radiation environment on Mir. MIPS-1 is data support equipment for the U.S. life sciences experiments that will be conducted on Mir next year. - end NASA press releases and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type the words "subscribe pressrelease" (no quotes). The system will reply with a confirmation via E-mail of each subscription. A second automatic message will include additional information on the service. Questions should be directed to (202) 358-4043.