While returning from orbit on Feb. 1, 2003, Space Shuttle Columbia and all seven STS-107 crewmembers were lost over north central Texas. Columbia was returning from a 16-day scientific research mission.
STS-107 was a 16-day Shuttle flight that included over 100 experiments contained in either the large pressurized laboratory called SPACEHAB or on a pallet called FREESTAR, both mounted in the Shuttle cargo bay. The seven crew members worked around the clock conducting research on themselves and in areas such as biology, physics, chemistry, and Earth science. These experiments were developed by NASA, by the European Space Agency, by commercial enterprises, and by students.
This web site focuses on the NASA Glenn Research Center developed experiments for STS-107 that did truly "explore the limits in microgravity." Here are their names and examples of how the researchers are testing the limits:
Laminar Soot Processes -- crew members help scientists find the limits of soot or smoke released from a flame
Structure of Flame Balls at Low Lewis-number -- find the smallest amount of fuel that will still ignite in microgravity
Water Mist Fire Suppression Experiment -- find the smallest amount of water that will quench a flame
Combustion Module-2 Facility -- pushes the limits of gas composition measurement accuracy
Critical Viscosity of Xenon -- find the critical point or temperature/pressure where there is perfect balance of liquid and solid Xenon
Space Acceleration Measurement System and Orbital Acceleration Research Experiment -- measure the minute accelerations of the Shuttle as small as one billionth of earth's gravity
These experiments were located both inside and outside the Shuttle and was the primary focus of the flight crew given that they made up over 60% of the mass and 45% of the crew time for NASA's Biological and Physical Research portion of the flight.
This site serves as a focal point for information about these experiments, including their results, as well as other related web resources/links.
Use the navigation menu at the top of this page to learn more.
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