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What Is A Payload?

The formal designation as a "payload" indicates that the experiment will be accorded top priority in crew time and energies during the 9-day flight, along with all other experiments carrying the same "payload" designation. However, payloads are often not the only investigations planned for a Shuttle mission. STS-95 objectives include a number of secondary investigations called Detailed Supplementary Objectives (DSO) and Development Test Objectives (DTO). These DSOs and DTOs will be conducted before, during, and after the October mission. Consisting of experiments and technology demonstrations, these investigations will supplement knowledge gained from the primary mission payloads.

Three multidisciplinary space science payloads will share Discovery's cargo bay with the pressurized SPACEHAB module:

  • The Hubble Space Telescope Orbiting Systems Test (HOST) will validate components planned for installation during the upcoming Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission and evaluate new technologies in an Earth-orbiting environment.
  • The Spartan 201 free-flyer is designed to investigate physical conditions and processes of the hot outer layer of the Sun's atmosphere.
  • The International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker (IEH-03) involves six different ultraviolet astronomy experiments mounted on a support structure.

SPARTAN 201-5:

Discoveries about the unknown source of the energy that heats the solar corona and accelerates the solar wind may help scientists understand the winds that carry mass and momentum away from other stars and why the sun's rotation has slowed. The results may also help them to explain how the Earth's magnetism and, ultimately, its climate and weather are affected by variations in the radiation and particles emitted by the sun.


HST Orbital Systems Test Platform (HOST)

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Orbital Systems Test (HOST) platform is an on-orbit test bed for hardware that will be installed on the orbiting telescope during the third HST servicing mission.

The primary objective of the HOST mission is to demonstrate that electronic and thermodynamic equipment slated for installation on the Hubble Telescope in 1999 works in the radiation and microgravity environment.

International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker (IEH-3):

Since extreme ultraviolet (EUV) flux, or radiation, cannot penetrate the Earth's atmosphere, scientists who want to learn more about this important energy source from the sun must conduct their experiments in space. Scientists hope that these experiments will provide data that will help them improve their global solar atmospheric models, which will lead to a better understanding of solar variability.

Starlite Web Site


Using both space flight- and ground-based experiments, researchers throughout the nation, as well as international partners, are working together to benefit economic, social, and industrial aspects of life for the United States and the entire Earth. U.S. universities, designated by NASA as "Commercial Space Centers," share these space advancements with U.S. industry to create new commercial products, applications, and processes.


Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC):

The BRIC-13 investigation will contribute to researchers' understanding of how the weightlessness of space affects the development of plants. The implications are important for the crews of future long-duration space flights because they will depend on plants grown in space for food, water, and oxygen. Better understanding of embryo formation and cell division also could result in advances in medical technology and better pharmaceutical products.

Cryogenic Thermal Storage Unit (CRYOTSU):

CRYOTSU will provide aerospace designers with a "toolbox" of thermal control elements that they can select from to determine ways of reliably solving complex spacecraft thermal design problems with minimum expenditures of power, weight and cost.

Electronic Nose (E-NOSE):

Early detection of contaminants aboard spacecraft is vital to crew health. The problems with current air quality monitoring equipment may be solved by the extremely compact and unobtrusive design of E-Nose, which can detect, identify, and quantify a wide range of air constituents. This comprehensive measurement of spacecraft air quality by a miniature, distributed device also has potential application for environmental monitoring and control on Earth.

Electronic Nose Fact Sheet

Getaway Special (GAS) Program:

Four Getaway Special (GAS) payloads will be aboard the STS-95 mission.

The G-467 GAS payload is to demonstrate in space the working principle and performance of a two-phase capillary pumped loop (CPL) with two advanced evaporators, a two-phase vapor quality sensor (VQS) with two condensers in parallel, and a control reservoir.

G-779, or Hearts in Space, was developed by researchers at Bellarmine College in Louisville, Ky. The purpose of the payload is to study why astronauts' hearts become smaller while in space.

The other two GAS experiments, G-238 and G-764, are part of the International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker (IEH)-03 payload.

Protein Crystal Growth (PCG):

Proteins are important, complex biochemicals that serve a variety of purposes in living organisms. Structural information gained from protein crystal growth (PCG) activities can provide a better understanding of the body's immune system and aid in the design of safe and effective treatments for disease and infections.

Space Experiment Module (SEM) - 4:

Some of the specific objectives and benefits of the SEM program are to:

  • Provide economical access to space for students from kindergarten to the university level.

  • Tie SEM program to NASA and U.S. educational goals and standards.

  • Ensure that student participation is not limited by geographical location.

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Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty
Updated: 31 October 1998

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