The majority of the facilities are housed together with the necessary technical infrastructure in standard Spacelab racks within the Spacelab module.
Werkstofflabor: The WL is designed to be a multipurpose and multi-use facility for materials science and space processing experiments in microgravity. It houses the following hardware: a mirror heating facility, a cryostat, a gradient heating facility, a fluid physics module, an isothermal heating facility and a high- temperature thermostat.
Prozesskamer: The PK (or process chamber) was tailored to the requirements of the scientists. It is designed to show and measure flows, heat and mass transport, and temperature distribution occurring during melting and solidification processes, as well as during phase changes of liquids.
Vestibular Sled: The VGS is an ESA contribution consisting of a seat for a test subject that can be moved backward and forward with precisely adjusted accelerations along rails fixed on the floor of Spacelab’s aisle. The seat is driven by an electro-motor and traction rope.
The sled permits tests to investigate the functional organization of man’s vestibular and orientation system and the vestibular adaptation processes under microgravity.
The acceleration of the astronauts will be combined with thermal stimulations of the inner ear and optokinetic stimulations of the eye.
MEDEA: The Material science Experiment Double rack for Experiment modules and Apparatus (MEDEA) is composed of three largely autonomous experiment facilities.
Metallurgical and directional solidification experiments will be performed in a gradient furnace. Crystal growth will be carried out in the monoelipsoidal mirror heating facility. The high precision thermostat measures specific heat at the critical point of a specimen.
Biowissenschaften (BW): This life sciences payload experiment package combines a group of three- element botanical or biological and two medical experiments in which a small botanical garden will be tended during the mission. Frog larvae development will be investigated in the “frog statolith” experiment. The third experiment in the field of life sciences continues the first Spacelab’s medical experiments of the central venous pressure. For the first time, the internal pressure of the eye will be measured. This experiment is designed to study fluid shifts under the effect of microgravity, as well as the adaptive behavior of the related human organs.
Biorack (BR): The Biorack is a multipurpose ESA research facility that can repeatedly perform biological experiments under weightlessness. Two incubators with different operating temperatures, a freezer and a hermetically sealed glove box are located in a single rack. To provide for the necessary controlled environment, different types of sample containers are provided, some equipped with measurement points that are controlled by the Spacelab computer system. During the ascent and descent phases, the containers with biological material will be stowed and passively temperature controlled in the middeck area to ensure late access to and early retrieval from the orbiter.
NAVEX: The navigation experiments payload element has two main objectives: development and testing of a precise clock synchronization; and testing a method for precise one-way distance measurement and position determination.
Material Experiment Assembly: The MEA is a self-contained facility that provides accommodation for multidiscipline experiments in the materials processing field. MEA was developed for NASA’s OSTA-2, and has flown on several missions.
Edited by Richard W. Orloff, 01/2001/Page 6