After a successful launch Thursday, space shuttle Atlantis’ (STS-122) crew is busy during its first day in orbit, inspecting the space shuttle’s heat shield and preparing for tomorrow’s arrival at the International Space Station. STS-122 is on an 11-day mission to continue construction of the International Space Station.
During the three scheduled spacewalks, astronauts will enter the European Space Agency’s module for the first time and deliver the Columbus lab, expanding research facilities that will make it possible to perform life, physical, and material science experiments.
The preparations for Saturday’s activities include the extension of the shuttle’s docking ring and the check out of tools they will use to rendezvous and link up with the station. Docking is set for 12:25 p.m. Saturday.
The check out of spacesuits is also on today’s schedule. The STS-122 crew will use the spacesuits during the mission’s spacewalks at the space station. The objective of the spacewalks during STS-122 is to install and prepare the European Space Agency’s Columbus research laboratory for use.
STS-122 is also delivering to the station European Space Agency astronaut Leopold Eyharts, who will replace Flight Engineer Daniel Tani as an Expedition 16 flight engineer.