2008-02-24 - Atlantis returnsShuttle Atlantis returns from ISS
Astronauten von Columbus-Montage zurück<br /> NASA's space shuttle Atlantis, which successfully delivered ESA's Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station, has safely returned to earth with its crew of seven.
Landing took place at 15:07 CET on 20 February on the shuttle landing strip of Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
On this STS-122 mission, the shuttle spent nearly 13 days in space, including 9 days docked to the Station to conduct a major ISS assembly task: delivery of Europe's first permanent manned outpost in orbit. The 7-m long 12.8-tonne Columbus module, a state-of-the-art multidisciplinary laboratory, was attached to the Harmony (Node 2) module on 11 February. Once leak checks and initial electrical, fluid and data connections were completed, the module's hatch was opened on 12 February, marking Europe's new status as a full partner and co-owner of the ISS. Outfitting work inside Columbus began only a few hours later, as the laboratory entered its commissioning phase, which was commanded and controlled by the Columbus Control Centre (Col-CC) located in Oberpfaffenhoffen near Munich, Germany.
Two ESA astronauts, Hans Schlegel of Germany and Léopold Eyharts of France, were ferried to the Station by Atlantis and both contributed directly to this success. As a member of the STS-122 crew, Hans Schlegel performed one of the three spacewalks during the mission with fellow astronaut Rex Walheim of NASA. He also coordinated the other two spacewalks, supporting the Columbus module's transfer from the shuttle payload bay to the ISS, plus the transfer of two payload suites, SOLAR and EuTEF, to external platforms on the Columbus module. Hans Schlegel returned to Earth with Atlantis.