The first spacewalk by Dezhurov and Tyurin is scheduled to begin around 10 a.m. Eastern time on Monday to hook up a cable between Pirs and Zvezda for telemetry and data transmission from Russian Orlan spacesuits, and to attach handrails, an access ladder and a cargo boom to Pirs, which serves as both a docking port for future Russian spacecraft arriving at the Station, and as an airlock for spacewalks out of the Russian segment of the outpost.
Dezhurov and Tyurin will conduct a second spacewalk on Oct. 15 and Culbertson and Dezhurov will perform a third excursion outside the Station on Nov. 5 to complete the outfitting of Pirs.
Dezhurov, who conducted five previous spacewalks on the Mir Space Station in 1995, and Tyurin, who will be making his first spacewalk, checked out their suits, communications gear and spacewalking tools this week and reviewed plans and timelines. This will be the first external spacewalk staged from the Station without the presence of a visiting Space Shuttle and the 27th spacewalk in support of the assembly of the complex.
On Monday, Dezhurov and Tyurin will close hatches between the Zvezda Service Module Transfer Compartment to which Pirs is docked, and Zvezda's living quarters and the Zarya module prior to depressurizing Pirs for the first time Monday morning. Dezhurov, who will wear the Orlan spacesuit bearing the red stripes, and Tyurin, who will the suit with the blue stripes, will then float out of one of two hatches on Pirs to begin their initial spacewalk. Culbertson will monitor the spacewalk from inside Zarya, to which the Soyuz return craft is attached. He will have access to the U.S. modules to the Station during the spacewalk, but not to Zvezda. The spacewalk is expected to last at least 4 ½ hours.
The new Docking Compartment will be used for the first time on Oct. 19, when the crew temporarily leaves the Station and boards its Soyuz rescue craft to relocate it from its current docked position on the nadir port of the Zarya module to the Pirs. The undocking and redocking of the Soyuz is expected to take about an hour to complete.
That will set the stage for the launch of a fresh Soyuz return craft on Oct. 21 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. A taxi crew consisting of Commander Victor Afanasyev, Flight Engineer Konstantin Kozeev and Flight Engineer Claudie Haignere of CNES, the French Space Agency, will arrive at the station Oct. 23 for an eight-day stay and will return to Earth on Oct. 31 aboard the Soyuz currently at the Station.
The orbiting trio also continued a variety of scientific investigations this week as they moved into the second half of their four-month stay on orbit. Oversight of science investigations on the station from the ground is handled by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. the Human Research Facility is managed by the Johnson Space Center.
With all of its systems operating in good shape, the station is orbiting at an average altitude of 240 statute miles (385 km).