Roskosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, announced this week the next Station crew will launch at 11:17 p.m. CDT Oct. 10 aboard a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. The Expedition 10 crew commander is Leroy Chiao and Salizhan Sharipov is flight engineer. Russian Space Forces Test Cosmonaut Yuri Shargin will accompany them for launch and spend about a week aboard the Station. Padalka, Fincke and Shargin will return to Earth Oct. 19.
This week, Padalka and Fincke performed routine maintenance work on the station's treadmill, a job done every six months. The treadmill provides cardiovascular training.
Additional troubleshooting work continued on the Elektron oxygen-generating unit. It produces breathing oxygen from wastewater. Sporadic operations of the unit led the Russian flight control team to believe contamination was preventing proper pressurization in a hydrogen line. Padalka cleaned the line. Further work is planned this weekend. As oxygen is generated from water by the unit, hydrogen is dumped overboard.
While the Elektron work continued, the Station's atmosphere was repressurized twice this week using oxygen from tanks on the Progress supply craft docked to the Station. If needed, many months' supply of oxygen is available for the crew even without the use of the Elektron. Oxygen is available on the Station in Progress tanks, Station tanks and oxygen-generating canisters.
The crew also continued to prepare for its trip home by taking food and hardware inventory. They also began stowing cargo containers and personal items for the return trip.