Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 9 a.m. CST
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-122 MCC Status Report #27
Space shuttle Atlantis and its seven-member crew landed on Runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center at 8:07 a.m. CST today, completing a 13-day journey of more than 5,296,842 miles. Atlantis touched down at exactly 8:07:10 a.m. with the nose gear touching down at 8:07:20 a.m. Wheels stop occurred at 8:08:08 a.m.
During 202 orbits of Earth, the crew of Atlantis, which includes Commander Steve Frick, Pilot Alan Poindexter and Mission Specialists Leland Melvin, Rex Walheim, Hans Schlegel, Stan Love and Dan Tani, installed the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station. Columbus, Europe’s largest contribution to the station, adds more than 2,600 cubic feet to the station and a wide variety of experiments and research.
The astronauts conducted three spacewalks to install and set up Columbus. They also removed a spent nitrogen tank assembly and a failed gyroscope, both of which were returned to Earth. During the final spacewalk, the astronauts examined an area outside of the station’s air lock, where a small divot was discovered. The astronauts used an improvised tool comprising some material from an unused overglove to see if this area could be causing cuts and abrasions on the astronauts’ gloves. Engineers in Houston will examine the results.
Atlantis delivered European Space Agency astronaut Leopold Eyharts to the station, replacing Tani as a flight engineer aboard the complex. Tani spent 107 days in space as a resident of the station. He launched on Oct. 23, 2007, aboard space shuttle Discovery on the STS-120 mission.
Atlantis will be towed to its orbiter processing facility this afternoon, where it will begin preparations for its next mission, STS-125, which is targeted to launch Aug. 28 to service the Hubble Space Telescope for the final time.
As Atlantis landed, the astronauts saw out their left window space shuttle Endeavour standing ready at launch pad 39-A. Endeavour’s launch on mission STS-123 is scheduled for March 11. The crew of Atlantis is scheduled to return to Houston on Thursday. An arrival ceremony is planned for about 4 p.m. at NASA Hangar 276 at Ellington Field.
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