Volume 5, Issue 6 p917-36 (1985)
The 'secret' D.O.D. Mission on flight STS 51-C also carried nearly 100 kg of automated instrumentation of the Australian experiment on aggregation of red cells ("ARC"). The automated Slit-Capillary Photo Viscometer contained blood samples from subjects with history of coronary heart disease, cancer of the colon, insulin-dependent diabetes, etc., as well as normals. The experiment ran for nine hours, according to the program of its microcomputers. When shuttle landed and instrumentation recovered and opened in the presence of NASA quality control officers, it was obvious that experiment was a success. Tentative and preliminary results can be summarized as follows: red cells did not change shape under zero gravity; red cells do aggregate under zero gravity, although the size of aggregates is smaller than on the ground; the morphology of aggregates of red cells appears to be of rouleaux type under zero gravity, notwithstanding the fact that pathological blood was used. These results will have to be confirmed in the future flights. The background and history of development of the project are described, and put into context of our general haemorheological studies.
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