The ISS Progress 12 unpiloted cargo vehicle arrived Saturday with about 5,000 pounds of food, water, equipment and fuel for the ISS. Its docking port had been vacated a week earlier by ISS Progress 10. It re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and burned shortly after its Aug. 27 undocking.
The ISS Progress 11 spacecraft left its Pirs berth Thursday at 2:42 p.m. CDT for another month alone in orbit, as part of a Russian scientific experiment. It will then be deorbited with its load of station refuse and burn in the Earth's atmosphere. The docking port it occupied will in October welcome the Soyuz TMA-3 spacecraft with Expedition 8 Commander Mike Foale and Cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri aboard. With them will be Spaniard Pedro Duque a European Space Agency astronaut who will spend eight days aboard the orbiting laboratory. He will return to Earth with the Expedition 7 crew.
The spacesuit work today by Lu and Malenchenko involved what amounted to annual maintenance. The work is called a mid-term checkout and included emptying and refilling the suit's water tank and loops, cycling relief valves, checking sensors and collecting data, a leak check and running the suit's fan for two hours to lubricate it. Such maintenance is required no more than 369 days after the last spacewalk, previous maintenance or a checkout on the ground.
Other activities during the week included successful completion by Lu of two more runs of the Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation experiment in the Microgravity Science Glovebox of the U.S. laboratory Destiny. The experiment involves melting a transparent material to see how bubbles form in the molten material and how they interact with one another. Researchers hope to gain understanding of molten materials and the potentially weakening bubbles that can form in them.
Malenchenko and Lu also continued regular station maintenance activities and their daily exercise sessions scheduled to mitigate some of the physiological effects of their extended stay in micorgravity.