Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Discovery Expands US, Russian Cooperation in Space Exploration NASA, Astronauts Are Disappointed by Failure to Deploy Satellite

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Discovery Expands US, Russian Cooperation in Space Exploration NASA, Astronauts Are Disappointed by Failure to Deploy Satellite

Article excerpt

WHILE cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev circles Earth on the space shuttle Discovery, two American astronauts start cosmonaut training at Star City outside Moscow.

What the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) calls "Phase 1" of "the rapidly expanding United States/Russian human space flight cooperation" is under way.

Its next milestone is a shuttle mission in January when Cosmonaut Krikalev's backup, Vladimir Titov, will be on board. Then, in March 1995, either Norman Thagard or Bonnie Dunbar - the astronauts now at Star City - join two cosmonauts to ride the Soyuz 18 spacecraft to the Mir space station.

Meanwhile, back at the space shuttle Discovery some 200 miles above Earth, Krikalev and his American colleagues are making the most of their remaining time on orbit before their scheduled return to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida midday Friday. Failure to deploy the 3,700-pound Wake Shield Facility satellite - one of the main feature's of this mission - was disappointing. But they can still fulfill the mission's primary objective of operating the Space Habitation Module (Spacehab) commercial laboratory mounted in Discovery's cargo bay. It's loaded with life-science and materials experiments and support equipment for still other experiments installed on Discovery's middeck.

The Wake Shield features a 12-foot diameter stainless steel platform on which equipment is mounted. This platform is designed to act literally as a shield to push aside dust and stray atoms and produce an ultrahard vacuum in its wake. Alex Ignatiev and his University of Houston team that are developing the wake-shield concept hope to use that vacuum to grow highly pure wafers of the semiconductor gallium arsenide.

Problems with indicator lights, glare, and radio interference from the shuttle, which had prevented deployment Feb. 5 and Feb. …

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