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STS-122: Flight Day 2

Atlantis, with the Columbus Module aboard, is orbiting the Earth after yesterday's launch, and chasing the Space Station. NASA reports:

STS-122 Crew to Inspect Heat Shield, Prepare for Docking

Atlantis climbs toward space. NASA PHOTO NO: KSC-08PD-0203 Image: Atlantis climbs toward space. Photo credit: NASA TV
Hi-Res Image

Feb. 8
During its first full day in orbit, the STS-122 crew will inspect space shuttle Atlantis’ heat shield and prepare for its arrival at the International Space Station on Saturday.

Crew members will use Atlantis’ robotic arm and Orbiter Boom Sensor System to check out the spacecraft’s underside and the leading edges of its wings. The inspections are conducted to see if any damage occurred to the heat shield during the climb to orbit that began when Atlantis lifted off at 2:45 p.m. EST from Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

The crew members are also slated to check out spacesuits they will use during the mission’s three scheduled spacewalks at the station. The objective of the spacewalks during STS-122 is to install and prepare the European Space Agency’s Columbus research laboratory for use.

STS-122 is also delivering to the station European Space Agency astronaut Leopold Eyharts, who will replace Flight Engineer Daniel Tani as an Expedition 16 crewmember.

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Launch Day pics and video are available. Discussion here. Status Report #2 here. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.