Meanwhile, in Moscow's Mission Control Center, flight controllers were preparing for a reboost of the station on Thursday, using the unmanned Progress resupply vehicle's engines to increase the altitude of the ISS for the upcoming launch of a new Soyuz return vehicle to the station later this month.
The reboost will consist of two Progress engine firings, at 5:32 a.m. CDT, then again at 10:55 a.m.
Next Monday's spacewalk, which is scheduled to begin around 4:15 a.m. CDT, is designed to mount scientific experiments on the Zvezda Service Module analyzing the effect of micrometeroid impacts and other deteriorating effects of the harsh environment of space on engineering materials. The spacewalk will be staged from the new Pirs Docking Compartment.
Russian and U.S. flight controllers agreed today to burn three oxygen-producing candles on the Station beginning Thursday as a test of the system. The candles, housed in special canisters, would be used in the unlikely event a problem developed with the Russian Elektron oxygen-generation system in Zvezda. The Elektron and the Russian Vozdukh carbon dioxide removal system are functioning normally.
Last Monday's spacewalk accomplished all but one of its goals, which included installing telemetry and data cables between Pirs and Zvezda, to which it linked up to three weeks ago. Dezhurov and Tyurin also installed handrails, an access ladder, a cargo crane, a docking target and a navigational antenna.
Because the spacewalk ran a bit longer than planned, a test of the rigidity of the newly installed Strela cargo crane on Pirs was postponed. It is expected to be performed during the third spacewalk of the Expedition by Culbertson and Dezhurov on Nov. 5. The focus of that spacewalk will be the completion of the exterior outfitting of Pirs.
Because some discoloration was detected by Dezhurov and Tyurin near a set of thrusters on Zvezda during their spacewalk this week, U.S. and Russian station officials agreed to relocate the site of one of the experiments to be installed on Zvezda next Monday. The so-called Kromka experiment was to have been mounted on the zenith, or space-facing area of the Service Module. Now it will be installed on Zvezda's port side. The Kromka experiment is designed to study ways to minimize the dissemination of contaminate particles from spacecraft jet thrusters as they are fired, thus protecting the exterior of future spacecraft.
Crewmembers successfully downlinked the first EarthKam photo from the station on Wednesday. The experiment allows students to select areas of the Earth to be photographed, then submit their targets via the Internet to the EarthKam control center at the University of California at San Diego for uplink to the station. Photos by the remote-controlled camera are sent to the students by the same path.
On Oct. 19, the Expedition Three crewmembers will board the Soyuz capsule attached to the Earth-facing port of the station's Zarya module, undock it and redock it to Pirs. That will clear the Zarya port for the arrival of a replacement Soyuz to be launched Oct. 21 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with a taxi crew, consisting of Commander Victor Afanasyev, Flight Engineer Konstantin Kozeev and Flight Engineer Claudie Haignere of CNES, the French Space Agency. They will dock with the space station Oct. 23. The taxi crew will leave the station Oct. 31 in the Soyuz currently mated to the ISS.
With systems operating well, the station is orbiting at an average altitude of 240 statute miles (385 km).
The Expedition Three crew continues to operate and monitor scientific experiments aboard the station. 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.