The Expedition Seven crew -- Commander Yuri Malenchenko and NASA ISS Science Officer Ed Lu -- has passed the four-week mark aboard the International Space Station. It has moved beyond an orientation and familiarization schedule and into an agenda of operations that reflects the range of activities the two men will pursue during the remaining five months of their flight.
Each day this week, Malenchenko and Lu completed a variety of maintenance tasks to keep their orbiting home in good shape, from monitoring the operation of life support systems to testing the quality of air and water.
The pace of science activities on the station increased during the fourth week. Malenchenko participated in a series of experiments studying the impact of microgravity on blood cell count and body mass. Lu worked with the Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions, or InSPACE, experiment in the Microgravity Science Glovebox.
During the week, both crewmembers discussed the progress of their mission and its scientific research with reporters and schoolchildren. On Thursday, they took part in an educational event, answering questions from students gathered at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.
Wednesday, the Expedition Six crew returned to Houston. Commander Ken Bowersox, Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit will continue physical rehabilitation and debriefings. They had been in Star City, Russia, since their 161-day mission ended on May 3.