On Monday, the crewmembers passed the 100-day mark on orbit since their launch to the Station April 26. The crew is scheduled to return to Earth in late October aboard the same Soyuz vehicle they arrived in. The Expedition 8 crew, U.S. astronaut Michael Foale and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri, will replace the Expedition 7 crew. Foale and Kaleri are scheduled to launch to the Station Oct. 18 aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, along with European Space Agency astronaut Pedro Duque of Spain. Duque will then return to Earth with the Expedition 7 crew after completing more than a week of science activities aboard the Station. Foale, Kaleri and Duque will talk to reporters about their upcoming mission during a news conference at 3 p.m. EDT, Thursday, Aug. 14, at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, which will be broadcast on NASA TV.
Throughout the week aboard the ISS, Lu worked with a run of the Coarsening of Solid-Liquid Mixtures-2 (CSLM-2) experiment in the Microgravity Science Glovebox. CSLM-2 is studying how the strength of metals, such as those used in jet engine turbine blades, is reduced during a process called coarsening. Malenchenko worked with Earth observation experiments and wrapped up a Russian agriculture experiment studying the growth of plants in space. He saved the data from the Rasteniya-2 experiment in preparation for its return to Earth.
Tuesday, the Station operating system briefly shifted into "survival mode" when the on-board computers did not recognize both thermal system loops in the Russian segment. Nonessential systems were automatically turned off, but flight controllers and payload controllers worked with the crew to reactivate the operating and payload systems without major impacts to operations or science.
Lu and Malenchenko resized a spare U.S. spacesuit to fit Lu. Malfunctions in Lu's original suit were found during a test earlier in the mission and the larger modular-designed suit was easily adjusted to fit Lu in the event he needs to conduct a U.S. airlock-based spacewalk. Initially, during the fit check of the suit, the cooling system did not function correctly but began working later in the test. Spacesuit experts will continue to troubleshoot the issues with both spacesuits.
This week, Malenchenko used oxygen from the Progress cargo vehicle docked to the aft of the Zvezda Service Module to repressurize the Station. The extra oxygen is being used before the spacecraft is undocked later this month to make room for a new Progress resupply craft scheduled for launch to the Station Aug. 28 (U.S. time).