International Space Station Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Fincke unloaded most of the cargo this week. They then shifted their attention to cataloguing and stowing the material using the Station's computerized, bar code-based Inventory Management System. The ISS Progress 15 docked to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, bringing fuel, water, oxygen, air, spare parts and other supplies.
Other activities for the crew during the week included a reboost of the Station, moving the Station's robotic arm into position for an upcoming spacewalk, and continuing science experiments.
On Tuesday, Padalka and Fincke installed a new system in the Progress craft that allows the crew to command Progress thruster firings from the Zvezda module. The thruster control system was tested and then used in a Thursday reboost of the Station that raised its altitude by about 3 statute miles. The ISS is now in an orbit with a high point of 228.7 miles and a low point of 215.5 miles.
Another Station reboost is scheduled next week to further raise the Station's orbit and prepare for the October arrival of the ISS Soyuz 9 spacecraft that will bring a new crew to the outpost.
On Thursday, the crew spent about an hour moving the Station's Canadarm2 into position for its cameras to view the upcoming spacewalk, scheduled for Sept. 3. During the spacewalk, the crew will use Russian Orlan spacesuits and the Russian airlock to install additional navigation equipment in preparation for next year's maiden flight of the European Automated Transfer Vehicle supply craft.
A press briefing on the spacewalk, the fourth and final outside excursion planned during Expedition 9's stay on the Station, will be held at 1 p.m. CDT Aug. 27 at Johnson Space Center, Houston. The briefing will be carried on NASA Television. Reporters at participating NASA centers will be able to ask questions.
Fincke will spend some time next week continuing to troubleshoot U.S. spacesuit cooling system problems. Among the spare parts delivered aboard the new Progress craft are new U.S. spacesuit cooling system pumps.
Science activities this week included biomedical crew observations and tests, among them a look at bioelectrical activity of the heart and audiograms. Crewmembers also worked with a Russian plant growth experiment, conducted educational science demonstrations, and performed a U.S experiment studying the behavior in weightlessness of fine particles suspended in a fluid, similar to the processes that govern paints and inks on Earth.