Saturday, February 16, 2008

Astronauts Ready for FInal Walk

The crew of space shuttle Atlantis began preparing Thursday for the third and final spacewalk of the mission. As part of the preparation, Mission Specialists Rex Walheim and Stanley Love are spending Thursday night in the International Space Station’s Quest airlock. The purpose of the “camp out” is to purge the nitrogen from their bodies before their planned exit at 8:40 a.m. EST Friday. During the spacewalk, Walheim and Love will install two payloads on Columbus’ exterior: SOLAR, an observatory to monitor the sun; and the European Technology Exposure Facility that will carry nine experiments requiring exposure to the space environment. The STS-122 and Expedition 16 crews also spent time Thursday outfitting racks and systems inside the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory, preparing the module for the scientific work ahead of it. Thursday morning, STS-122 Commander Steve Frick, Mission Specialists Hans Schlegel and Daniel Tani, station Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko and Leopold Eyharts spoke with Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany. Schlegel, a European Space Agency astronaut, is from Germany. Also participating were ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain and former astronaut Thomas Reiter of the German Space Agency. Atlantis is slated to land at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Wednesday. ' xmlns=""> --> - Source: NASA

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