The arrival of the Progress vehicle at the Station sets the stage for the launch of the next module for the outpost next month --- the Russian Docking Compartment named Pirs, the Russian word for pier. The Docking Compartment will automatically link up to the nadir, or earthward facing docking port of Zvezda two days after launch, providing an additional docking port for future Russian vehicles arriving at the ISS. A Progress-style instrumentation and propulsion stage attached to Pirs, which will provide the new module with its thruster capability to reach the ISS, will be jettisoned shortly after the new component docks to Zvezda.
The crew members are also working on unpacking equipment recently delivered on the STS-105 shuttle mission. They installed the Volatile Organic Analyzer (VOA) this week and will activate it later this week. The VOA is designed to sample the air inside the ISS, detecting and identifying any possible contaminants. Flight controllers at Mission Control, Houston will command the VOA to take daily local samples of the air. The Expedition Three Crew can also take remote air samples from anywhere in the ISS.
One of the voltage converter units in the Zvezda associated with one of eight power-producing batteries for the Service Module was successfully replaced this week after it recently experienced a problem. All of Zvezda's systems are functioning normally.
In addition to attending to the new supplies, the Expedition Three crew continues to oversee a variety of science investigations.
The International Space Station (ISS) is orbiting at an altitude averaging 240 miles (385 km).