The Expedition 7 crew, Commander Yuri Malenchenko and NASA ISS Science Officer Ed Lu, spent part of their week seeing to the proper operation of the Station's systems, as well as completing their regularly scheduled exercise. They also finished preparing the old Progress ship for its departure. After loading the craft with material no longer needed on board and removing hardware that will be refurbished and used on future Progress flights, the Station crew closed the hatch on Progress 10 Wednesday morning. Wednesday afternoon, specialists at the Russian Mission Control Center outside Moscow commanded the ship to release its grip on the ISS and back away from the Station. It was destroyed as it plunged into the Earth's atmosphere.
In the Station's Destiny laboratory this week, Lu oversaw completion of the second successful test run inside the Microgravity Sciences Glovebox of the Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation, in which samples of a transparent test material are melted so researchers can study the formation of bubbles that might diminish the strength or usefulness of metals or crystals. Two more test sessions of PFMI are scheduled for next week, and three others later in Expedition 7.
Supported by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., Lu also activated the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus for use in future fundamental space biology research. He also installed a new laptop computer to function as an interim control unit for the Space Acceleration Measurement System. SAMS, which measures small vibrations on the Station that might impact delicate microgravity science, is now back to full operation.
Russian mission managers reported this week that the charge/discharge unit of Battery No. 2 in the Zvezda module has been declared fully failed and will need replacement. The seven other storage batteries in Zvezda are fully operational and provide sufficient electricity.