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Ask the Crew: STS-99

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Question #21Kevin Kregel's Reply

From: Mark Elowitz, Socorro, New Mexico, age 38
To:
Commander Kevin Kregel

Question: Although the mission is mapping a large fraction of the Earth's land mass are there any plans to attempt imaging of icebergs that have broken off from their main ice packs?

Kregel: The answer for this mission is simply no. We are just mapping the land mass. And most of the icebergs are further south or further north than we are actually flying.

Commander Kevin Kregel
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Question #22Gerhard Thiele's Reply

From: Mike Girmay, San Jose, California, age 22
To:
Mission Specialist Gerhard Thiele

Question: What is the average speed of the shuttle as it orbits the earth? Also what is the average height above the earth?

Thiele: We are going pretty fast at an impressive 5 miles per second or 18,005 miles per hour. In kilometers, which what I am more familiar with, is 8 kilometers a second or 28,000 an hour. And the average altitude above the Earth's surface for this mission is 125 nautical miles.

Mission Specialist Gerhard Thiele
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Question #23Dom Gorie's Reply

From: Flight Activities Officer
To:
Pilot Dom Gorie

Question: How do you set up a network in space?

Gorie: First of all, in the middeck, where we have the printer and the OCA computer, you can see we just installed them on the wall as you come down from the flight deck. And the printer just is sitting there with access. Up underneath that bag, where we have data tapes stored that already have been recorded, is the OCA computer. And the OCA computer is the computer that takes all the signals from the ground and routes them and processes them just like an Internet LAN. We've got network cables that come up through this access way to the flight deck, and we have two computers operating on the flight deck. The first is the proshare, which has a program called KFX that processes all the messages that come up from the Flight Activities Officer. It sends those to all the other computers for access as well. But this is the computer that has the main drive the other computers access if crew members want to read mail. It's also where we initiate print commands from, just like you would on any home computer or computer at work. And this is the third computer that's networked to the other two and it's called our World Map Computer. You can see there's a world map on there, and that one's just taken a few minutes ago over Asia. You can see the green land mass. This computer you can also use to read e-mail and messages.

Pilot Dom Gorie
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Question #24Janice Voss' Reply

To: Mission Specialist Janice Voss

Question: What color is the wastewater dump?

Voss: All the water dumps look pretty much the same. We downlinked a picture a couple of days ago of the dump coming on the mast. And you could see it just looks like a white mist basically. One of the gorgeous things to see that the sun will generate is the wastewater dump. I remember on my first flight, Pilot Brian Duffy was up here starting a dump. I was downstairs on my exercise bike, and he said, "Janice, you got to come up here and see this." I went zoom up the flight deck. And you go out and look out the commander's side window and there's this huge fountain of white, sparkly snowflakes - is what it looks like. The color is always this glittering white in the sunlight. You can't see it very well if you're in night. You really can't see it that well if you're in daylight at certain angles. But, most of the time it's just a pretty white snow.

Mission Specialist Janice Voss
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Question #25Dom Gorie's Reply

To: Pilot Dom Gorie

Question: Do you snore in space?

Gorie: We did a little investigative reporting, and we're going to show you that right now. Just a few minutes ago, we took one of our camcorders and we decided to go downstairs where the red shift was sleeping. We have those three crew members in their sleep stations, and all their doors are pretty far shut. Except, there was one. And I'm not going to tell you who was in that sleep station, except, that he has never flown in space before this flight. I saw that crack in the sleep station and went up to it. We put our ear up next to that thing, and we found, in fact, that people do snore in space. This noise on this one was not very loud, but it certainly was identifiable as a snore. I guess there's been some reports of other crew members snoring much louder; although, I've never heard it, which might give you some evidence of where that's coming from. So, I think a lot of people have wondered about this before: What causes that action in the back of your throat and your nose, but it's certainly not affected by zero-g.

Pilot Dom Gorie
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Question #26Mamoru Mohri's Reply

From: Jeremy Nichols, Santa Rosa, CA
To:
Mission Specialist Mamoru Morhi

Question: Why do some astronauts wear a watch on each wrist?

Mohri: I happen to have two watches on my wrists. As you know, for time in the space shuttle, we use three different times, basically. One is MET, Mission Elapsed Time, which counts up from liftoff. We base on this time for our activities in the space shuttle. At the same time, we sometimes use Greenwich Mean Time. It's a standard world time. In addition, since we are orbiting the Earth we need world time. In my wrist watch, I use Mission Elapsed Time, and on my right-hand side, this watch, I use Greenwich Mean Time - a world watch. In addition, since we are working many events at the same time, we need lots of our alarms. You might have heard some beeps during our downlinking. We use, for example, a stopwatch - egg-timer - just for recording purposes. When I need to record our usage, we use three different egg-timers. In addition, also, we have to do some other activity that's space shuttle, so we need as many watches as possible. But for me two is enough.

Mission Specialist Mamoru Mohri
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Question #27Mamoru Mohri's Reply

From: Arco Stoutjesdijk, Rotterdam, Netherlands, age 36
To:
Mission Specialist Mamoru Morhi

Question: Can you see the center of the galaxy with your bare eyes? If you can, what does it look like?

Mohri: The stars are much brighter than you usually see from the Earth. But still, all stars are the same. Constellations are the same. Even though, we are up in space but only 200 kilometers away from the surface. So basically, we see all stars the same as you see from space. Actually, Milky Way is much brighter than you see from the Earth. So that direction, we can tell the center of the galaxy. But specifically, we cannot tell what is the center.

Mission Specialist Mamoru Mohri
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Question #28Gerhard Thiele's Reply

To: Mission Specialist Gerhard Thiele

Question: What will the results of the mission be used for?

Thiele: The answer is provided in German.

Mission Specialist Gerhard Thiele
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Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
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