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Thursday, February 14, 2008 - 5 p.m. CST
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-122 MCC Status Report #15
HOUSTON – The crew of Atlantis, along with the Expedition 16 crew aboard the International Space Station, spent the day preparing for tomorrow’s third and final spacewalk and talking with the media.

This morning, Shuttle Commander Steve Frick and Mission Specialists Hans Schlegel and Daniel Tani, station Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko and Leopold Eyharts spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Also participating were European Space Agency Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain and former astronaut Thomas Reiter of the German Space Agency.

The astronauts then spoke with NBC News, WOI-TV and WBBM radio. WOI-TV is in Des Moines, Iowa, capital of Whitson’s home state. WBBM is in Chicago, near Tani’s hometown of Lombard, Ill.

Tonight, Mission Specialists Stanley Love and Rex Walheim will camp out inside the Quest airlock. This will purge the nitrogen from their bodies in advance of tomorrow’s spacewalk.

During the 6.5-hour spacewalk that is scheduled to start at 7:40 a.m. CST, Love and Walheim will install two experiment platforms on the outside of the Columbus module. If time allows, they also will take a closer look at some damage to a handrail on the Quest airlock. The astronauts have built a special tool that will be used during the inspection, which comprises an overglove material wrapped around a socket. They will run the tool over the damaged handrail to see if there are any edges sharp enough to cut the material.

The next STS-122 status report will be issued Friday morning or earlier if events warrant.

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