February 2008
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STS-122: Crew Enters Columbus

Flight Day 6 saw the astronauts' first entry into the newly-attached Columbus module. Preparations continued for Wednesday's EVA, the second for STS-122. Also, mission managers determined today that the slight tear in one of Atlantis' thermal blankets will not need to be repaired.  NASA reports:

Astronauts Enter Columbus, Prepare for Spacewalk

Astronauts Rex Walheim and Hans Schlegel. NASA IMAGE NO: ISS016-E-028885
Image: Mission Specialists Rex Walheim (left) and Hans Schlegel work with Extravehicular Mobility Unit spacesuits in the Quest Airlock of the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA

The STS-122 and International Space Station crews continued setting up and activating the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory Tuesday.

Station Flight Engineer Leopold Eyharts and Mission Specialist Hans Schlegel, both European Space Agency astronauts, opened the hatches to the new Columbus laboratory at 9:08 a.m. EST.

Just prior to hatch opening, Eyharts remarked, "This is a great moment and Hans and I are very proud to be here and to ingress for the first time the Columbus module."

Mission Specialists Rex Walheim and Hans Schlegel will “camp out” in the station’s Quest airlock to prepare for Wednesday’s spacewalk, slated for 9:35 a.m. The astronauts are “camping out” to purge nitrogen from their bodies prior to exiting the station.

The spacewalkers will remove the Nitrogen Tank Assembly (NTA), part of the station’s thermal control system, from the P1 truss. Once they have completed this task, they will install a new NTA, and the old one will be transferred to the shuttle’s payload bay for return to Earth.

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Flight Day 5 videos are up at the JSC Gallery. Discussion here. Status Report #11 here. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.

Russia, China propose new treaty to ban arms in space

Russia and China have proposed a new treaty to ban the use of weapons in space, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday, amid concerns of growing anti-satellite missile rivalry.