February 2008
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STS-122: Health Issues Delay EVA

The STS-122 crew entered the ISS for the first time after the hatches between the station and space shuttle Atlantis opened at 1:40PM EST today. Docking occurred at 12:17PM, delivering the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory and a new crew member to the orbital outpost.

NASA is reviewing possible damage to Atlantis' heat shield. There are always a few "dings" on ascent. Also, a minor computer issue surfaced.

This evening, Mission Control informed the joint crews that the first spacewalk will be delayed by one day, and that astronaut Stan Love will replace Hans Schlegel on EVA #1. NASA reports:

First Spacewalk Delayed, Mission Extended

Crew operates station robotic arm
Image above: Flight Engineer Dan Tani (left) watches as Mission Specialists Leopold Eyharts (center) and Leland Melvin operate the International Space Station's robotic arm. Photo credit: NASA TV

Space shuttle Atlantis arrived at the International Space Station Saturday morning after a two-day rendezvous. Atlantis is delivering the European Space Agency Columbus science laboratory, which will be attached to the station’s Harmony module on Monday now after the decision was made to delay the first spacewalk due to a crew medical issue.

With no impact to the overall mission objectives, the first spacewalk Monday will be conducted by Rex Walheim and Stan Love, who replaces Hans Schlegel.

The official crew rotation of ESA Astronaut Leopold Eyharts and Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Dan Tani, originally scheduled for Sunday, was completed at 6:20 p.m. Eyharts now is a member of Expedition 16 and Tani is an STS-122 mission specialist.

STS-122 landing is now planned for 10:14 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

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Flight Day 2 pics are up at the JSC Gallery. Video of today's "backflip" here and here (fast-mo). Hatch opening video here. Discussion here. Status Report #5 here. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.

STS-122: Flight Day 3

With yesterday's initial heat-shield inspection complete, attention turns to this morning's docking with the Space StationNASA reports:

Atlantis to Arrive at Space Station Today

Astronaut Alan Poindexter. NASA IMAGE NO: S122-E-005060 Image: Astronaut Alan Poindexter, STS-122 pilot, gives a "thumbs-up" signal on the flight deck of Space Shuttle Atlantis during flight day one activities. Photo credit: NASA

Space shuttle Atlantis continues its pursuit of the International Space Station, with docking scheduled for 12:25 p.m. EST. Atlantis will arrive at the station with a new Expedition 16 crew member, as well as the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory.

The STS-122 crew began rendezvous operations at 6:30 a.m. Commander Steve Frick and Pilot Alan Poindexter will fire the shuttle’s engines at 9:37 a.m. to refine Atlantis’ approach to the station.

About an hour before docking, Frick and Poindexter will guide the shuttle through a back-flip maneuver, allowing the station crew to take pictures of the shuttle’s protective heat-resistant tiles. These photos will be sent to engineers on Earth for analysis.

After Atlantis docks, the STS-122 and Expedition 16 crews will conduct pressure and leak checks before the hatches between the two spacecraft open at 1:35 p.m. They will then greet each other and begin joint operations.

The crews will prepare for the first of three scheduled STS-122 spacewalks, which Mission Specialists Rex Walheim and Hans Schlegel will conduct, beginning at 9:35 a.m. Sunday. Columbus is scheduled to be attached to the station Sunday at 4:25 p.m.

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Mission Control pics and Flight Day 2 video are up at the JSC Gallery. Discussion here. Status Report #4 here. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.