Commander Yuri Malenchenko and NASA ISS Science Officer Ed Lu worked to prepare their ISS Soyuz 7 spacecraft for their voyage home, checking out its systems and related station equipment, gathering their personal possessions and beginning to pack the spacecraft. They also checked out instrumentation that will be used to dock the ISS Soyuz 8 capsule bringing Expedition 8 Commander and Science Officer Michael Foale and Cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri to the station, along with European Space Agency Astronaut Pedro Duque of Spain.
Duque is flying to the Station under a commercial contract between the European Space Agency and the Russian Aviation and Space Agency. He will return home with the Expedition 7 crew after about a week of conducting science experiments.
The Expedition 8 crew and Duque are scheduled to launch at 12:38 a.m. CDT Saturday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Their spacecraft will dock to the Station at about 2:17 a.m. CDT on Monday. Hatches between the two spacecraft should open about 5:14 a.m. CDT.
On Oct. 27 at about 5:20 p.m. CST, Malenchenko, Lu and Duque are to undock Soyuz 7 and perform a burn to drop out of orbit at about 7:40 p.m. CST. A landing in Kazakhstan will follow at about 8:35 p.m. CST (8:35 a.m. Oct. 28 Kazakhstan time).
Malenchenko and Lu continued to work with scientific experiments. On Wednesday, Lu successfully removed and replaced a Remote Power Controller Module (RPCM) in the U.S. laboratory Destiny. The device routes electricity and data throughout the station. One of its circuits had failed. The replacement RPCM is functioning well.
Another highlight of the week was the launch of China's first human space mission. Lu took some time on Wednesday to welcome the single crewmember of the Shenzhou V spacecraft into orbit. Lu, speaking in Chinese and English, wished him a successful mission and a safe return home.
On Friday, Lu spent several hours taking a water sample from the cooling system in the U.S. airlock Quest. The system provides cooling to spacesuits. Officials want to confirm the quality of the water with the samples that will be returned with the Expedition 7 crewmembers. Meanwhile, Malenchenko was prepared a workspace for Duque and his scientific experiments.