The first NASA Spacelab Life Sciences mission (SLS-1) flew 5 June to 14 June 1991 on the orbiter Columbia (STS-40). The purpose of the mission was to investigate the human body's adaptation to the low-gravity conditions of space flight and the body's readjustment after the mission to the 1 g environment of earth. In addition to the life sciences experiments manifested for the Spacelab module, a variety of experiments in other scientific disciplines flew in the Spacelab and in Get Away Special (GAS) Canisters on the GAS Bridge Assembly. Several principal investigators designed and flew specialized accelerometer systems to better assess the results of their experiments by means of a low-gravity environment characterization. This was also the first flight of the NASA Microgravity Science and Applications Division (MSAD) sponsored Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) and the first flight of the NASA Orbiter Experiments Office (OEX) sponsored Orbital Acceleration Research Experiment accelerometer (OARE). We present a brief introduction to seven STS-40 accelerometer systems and discuss and compare the resulting data. During crew sleep periods, acceleration magnitudes in the 10-6 to 10-5 g range were recorded in the Spacelab module and on the GAS Bridge Assembly. Magnitudes increased to the 10-4 g level during periods of nominal crew activity. Vernier thruster firings caused acceleration shifts on the order of 10-4 g and primary thruster firings caused accelerations as great as 10-2 g. Frequency domain analysis revealed typical excitation of Orbiter and Spacelab structural modes at 3.5, 4.7, 5.2, 6.2, 7, and 17 Hz.


Mechanical Engineering



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/provost_schol/46