Packed with discarded items no longer needed on the outpost, Progress 22 will undock from the stationís Pirs Docking Compartment next Tuesday at 5:28 p.m. CST. Its engines will be fired three hours later to send it back into the atmosphere, where it will burn up.
The station crew, Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineers Mikhail Tyurin and Suni Williams, geared up for the docking of ISS Progress 24 at Pirs, which is slated for Friday, Jan. 19 at 9 p.m. CST. Progress 24 will launch on Wednesday, Jan. 17, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8:12 p.m. CST.
The new Russian cargo ship will bring about 2.5 tons of food, fuel, oxygen and supplies to the complex, including clothing and spacewalk hardware for the next resident crew that will arrive at the station in April.
In preparation for the undocking of Progress 22, Tyurin disassembled and removed the docking mechanism in the hatchway between the cargo craft and the docking compartment. The mechanism will be returned to Earth on Space Shuttle Atlantis' mission to the complex in March.
During the week, the crew worked for several hours in the Zvezda Service Module on a major systems replacement task, trained on the Robotics Onboard Trainer and relocated it to a new rack in the Destiny lab. They also repaired and tested a Russian exercise machine.
Tyurin also performed maintenance on a Russian ergometer and removed the volatile organic analyzer from the Crew Health Care Systems rack to prepare it for routine maintenance. The analyzer is used to identify and quantify a targeted list of organic compounds in the station atmosphere. Tyurin also spent time on two Russian experiments, one that studies locomotor system disorders in weightlessness and one that studies the effect of spaceflight on the growth and development of plants.
Also during the week, Lopez-Alegria completed taking samples and documented his daily diet for his mid-mission session on a renal stone experiment. This experiment examines the risk of renal, or kidney, stone formation in crewmembers pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight. In this study, potassium citrate tablets are administered to astronauts, and multiple urine samples are taken before, during and after spaceflight to evaluate the risk of renal stone formation. Lopez-Alegria is the final subject to complete the experiment.
Lopez-Alegria and Williams took the WinSCAT, a cognitive test battery used during space missions. The WinSCAT helps to assess the effects on performance of behavioral stress induced by workload demands.
The astronauts also tested emergency light power supplies onboard. In addition, Williams swapped power supplies on one of the stationís laptop computers, completed some modifications on the umbilical interface assembly in the Quest airlock, and configured and trained on the stationís Robotic Onboard Trainer. She also worked in the Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for the International Space Station, or MELFI, replacing the desiccant in Dewar 4 -- a desiccant is a material that absorbs water or moisture -- and checked to make sure the nitrogen pressure was within acceptable range.