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Friday, February 15, 2008 - 5 p.m. CST
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-122 MCC Status Report #17
HOUSTON – Astronauts Rex Walheim and Stan Love today spent seven hours and 25 minutes completing the third and final spacewalk of the STS-122 mission. Walheim and Love worked to transfer the first of two external experiment facilities – an observatory used to monitor the sun, called SOLAR – to the Columbus module for installation. Pilot Alan Poindexter worked to guide Walheim and Love from inside the International Space Station, while Mission Specialist Leland Melvin operated the station’s robotic arm to guide the astronauts and experiments to the proper locations.

After the installation of SOLAR, the crew transferred a failed gyroscope that controls the orientation of the ISS into Atlantis’ payload bay so it can be returned to Earth. The two astronauts completed the final major objective of the mission by installing a second experiment onto the outside of Columbus, the European Technology Exposure Facility (EuTEF). This experiment will allow scientists to expose experiments to the vacuum and elements of space.

Once this work was completed, Walheim and Love examined a damaged handrail on the outside of the station’s Quest airlock. They used an improvised tool covered with spacewalk overglove material to rub the area to see if it could be the source of some glove abrasions that have been noticed on recent activity outside the station. Mission managers in Houston will discuss the results to determine if the area is indeed the source of the issue.

Tomorrow at 6:17 a.m., the shuttle will fire its propulsion system for 31 minutes and 13 seconds in order to re-boost the orbit of the ISS. This will allow the station to achieve the proper alignment needed in advance of next month’s arrival of Endeavour on the STS-123 mission.

A crew news conference is scheduled for 7:40 a.m. tomorrow, with all 10 crew members participating in a question-and-answer session with media from the United States and Europe.

The next STS-122 status report will be issued after crew wake-up tomorrow morning, which is scheduled for 1:45 a.m.

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