The problem was an elusive leak. Initial reports indicated the repair was a success. On Thursday flight controllers at Mission Control Center activated the device for a 24-hour run. Friday morning they said telemetry indicated it is capable of functioning on both its sorbent beds for the first time since it arrived on the station.
Whitson was named NASA ISS science officer Monday during a space-to-ground conversation with NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, speaking with her from the International Space Station Flight Control Room in the Mission Control Center. O'Keefe said it was time to increase the station's main mission, scientific research.
Through the week, Korzun and Treschev spent time each day loading the Progress 8 unpiloted supply spacecraft. It will undock from the station on Tuesday with its cargo of trash and unneeded equipment and supplies. After about two weeks during which Russian flight controllers will use its cameras capture and downlink images of smog and smoke over northeastern Russia, it will be deorbited to burn up in the Earth's atmosphere. NASA TV coverage of the 8:58 a.m. CDT undocking will begin at 8:30 a.m. Coverage of the docking of Progress 9, scheduled to reach the aft docking port of the Zvezda Service Module at 12:07 p.m. on Sept. 29, will begin on NASA TV at 11:30 a.m. that day. Progress 9 is to be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Sept. 25.
On Tuesday Whitson activated the lab's Microgravity Science Glovebox in preparation for a new series of experiments. Those experiments called Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI) melt a transparent substance to study how bubbles form and move in molten materials. She activated the first in that series of experiments on Thursday.
Also on the crew's schedule was packing of items to be returned to Earth on the shuttle Atlantis. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch no earlier than Oct. 2 on STS-112, bringing the Starboard 1 (S1) Truss to the station. Atlantis crewmembers will do three spacewalks during the shuttle's visit, focusing on connecting fluid, power and data lines between the S1 and the rest of the station. The spacewalks will be performed from the station's Joint Airlock, and E5 crewmembers devoted some of their attention this week to spacewalk preparations.
Flight controllers did a major exercise with the station's Canadarm2 on Wednesday. The arm is functioning well after replacement of its wrist-roll joint by spacewalkers during the STS-111 flight in June. This exercise involved simulating a failure - essentially turning off power to an arm joint -- then devising a way to work around the problem. The exercise was completed satisfactorily.
Late in the week, the crew completed repressurization of the station's atmosphere with oxygen from Progress 8.
Friday activities included additional work toward arrival of Atlantis, packing transfer items and talking by radio with Atlantis crewmembers about the spacewalks. Friday science focused on the Advanced Astroculture experiment, which looks at soybean growth in space and wrapping up the first of the PFMI experiments.
As science activity, station maintenance and crew medical and health activities, including about two hours of exercise for each member daily, continued through the week, Korzun, Whitson and Treschev did manage to take time out on Tuesday to talk with students at Ashland, Wis., area schools. Crewmembers showed a video of exercise devices aboard the station and answered questions from the students.