Lopez-Alegria, Tyurin, and Reiter quickly settled into a daily routine of performing experiments, housekeeping, maintenance, and exercise. Lopez-Alegria described some of his increment’s experiments:
“We’re trying to understand better the effects of long-duration spaceflight on humans, because our goal is to extend our presence not just in low Earth orbit but to go back to the moon with some kind of a longer-term presence, and hopefully on to Mars someday. So, a lot of the science is dedicated to human physiology. We are studying, everything… on a very small level. There’s an experiment called SWAB, which measures bacteria levels on surface[s], water, and air; it’s sort of an environmental thing—what actually grows up there and how do we have to worry about reacting with it. Another sort of related idea is something called Epstein – Barr virus. We see how our immune system reacts over time while we’re up there. We have a nutrition experiment that will, through taking blood and urine samples, track our intake and how we metabolize the food that we’re eating up there, because, in general, people tend to lose weight in space. In space they lose weight, but when they come back they’re usually a little bit lighter and over a lot of time, that obviously can be debilitating. [C]ertainly muscle function, bone loss are very important. We’re doing an experiment called TRAC [Test of Reaction and Adaptation Capabilities], which is pretty interesting neuron – reaction time—it’s an experiment [where] we’ve got to have a tracking task in one hand, where you’re trying to get a ‘pipper’ to stay over a target, and in the other hand you’re reacting with a keyboard, trying to do things as quickly as possible. Unfortunately because of the assembly and because of the stowage, time challenges, we don’t have as much science as we’d like. I guess it’s an investment. We’re investing the time now to build the Space Station, so that we can have a lot more science time available in the future.’’
The crew spent their first solo week onboard ISS preparing to move Soyuz TMA-9. They also practised an emergency egress from the station, checking all safety equipment in the process. Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin also completed their first medical experiments. Reiter completed loading unwanted items into Progress M-57 and carried out the standard off-loading of liquid waste from the ISS toilet to the empty water tanks in the Progress. The hatches between the two spacecraft were sealed on October 5. The following day, all three men completed monthly fitness evaluations on the station’s stationary bicycle. Tyurin also spent some time during the week troubleshooting the Elektron and replacing components of the instrument panel. The Elektron continued to intermittently malfunction and further repairs were delayed until replacement parts could be delivered on Progress M-58. Meanwhile, the station drew additional oxygen from the tanks mounted on the exterior of Quest. The last of the old design SFOGs had been burned and the igniters in Zvezda were changed out for new ones matching the design of the new SFOG candles now onboard.
CMG-3 began vibrating on October 9 and was shut down, leaving three CMGs to maintain the station’s attitude. This was a normal fall-back configuration and had no knock-on effect on the flight. The CMG would be replaced during the visit of STS-118, planned for August 2007. The malfunctioning gyroscope would be stowed on the station before its return to Earth on STS-122. In the meantime the station continued to function normally.
Having set ISS up for unoccupied flight, the three men sealed themselves in Soyuz TMA-9 and undocked from Zvezda’s wake at 15: 14, October 10, and re-docked to Zarya’s nadir at 15: 34. They then re-entered the station and reconfigured its systems for human occupation once more. The relocation manoeuvre cleared Zvezda’s wake for the arrival of Progress M-58, later in the month. The crew performed routine medical experiments and maintenance while continuing to load Progress M-57 with unwanted items. On October 23, Houston began a 5-day workout of the Thermal Radiator Rotary Joint (TRRJ) on the S-1 and P-1 ITS. NASA explained that the joints would, ‘‘… enable the radiators to auto-track, or revolve, when required to dissipate heat from the Truss’ avionics equipment…’’