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Atlantis Readies For Columbus Mission

"Once Columbus is operational, we will have a permanent presence on the Station. We will own our own real estate," said Bernardo Patti, Columbus Project Manager.

STS-118 Countdown Rehearsal Set To Begin
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Jul 16 - The seven-member crew of STS-118 is set to arrive at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday for the terminal countdown demonstration test. Often referred to as TCDT, the test is a final round of prelaunch training that concludes with a simulated launch countdown for the crew and the launch team. Space Shuttle Endeavour arrived at Launch Pad 39A early July 11 after an overnight rollout from the Vehicle Assembly Building. The STS-118 payload -- including the S5 truss, SPACEHAB module and external stowage platform 3 -- was delivered July 8 to the pad's payload changeout room. The STS-118 mission will be the 22nd flight to the International Space Station and first flight for Endeavour since 2002. Launch is targeted for the evening of Aug. 7.
by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral FL (ESA) Jul 16, 2007
More than 500 years ago, the voyages of Christopher Columbus to the New World and the discoveries he made caused quite a stir throughout Europe. Today, excitement is building on both sides of the Atlantic as the long-awaited launch of ESA's Columbus space laboratory grows closer, as NASA starts processing Shuttle Atlantis in preparation for the mission.

Columbus was flown to Florida on 30 May 2006. Earlier this year, it was removed from temporary storage, and the 12.8 tonne International Space Station (ISS) module is now fully outfitted with its experiment racks and orbital hardware. At the moment, engineers are installing the trunnions that will secure the 4.5 metre diameter aluminium cylinder in the Shuttle payload bay. The next step is to mount the panels that will protect the lab from potentially damaging micrometeorite impacts.

After a summer break, the Columbus hatch will be reopened at the beginning of October, when it will undergo final preparations for flight, including leak checks on the water cooling system, a pressurisation check and the switching on of electrical systems. Once the seals are in position on the module's docking mechanism, it will be placed inside a canister for transport to the launch pad.

"The launch of Columbus will be a major landmark in European space exploration," said Bernardo Patti, Columbus Project Manager. "Columbus was originally scheduled for launch in 2002, but delays in the construction of the ISS and the tragic loss of Shuttle Columbia have put back the mission five years.

"Once Columbus is operational, we will have a permanent presence on the Station. We will own our own real estate. By providing the Automated Transfer Vehicle and Columbus, ESA will be able to meet its scientific objectives as a full partner, sharing resources with other ISS participants rather than simply purchasing them."

Columbus will not be the only representative of ESA on the STS-122 Shuttle flight. The crew of seven will include ESA astronauts Hans Schlegel and Leopold Eyharts. Schlegel will play a key role in two spacewalks during which he will help to install and power up Columbus and then position two scientific payloads on the module's exterior. While Leopold Eyharts will perform a large part of the activation and initial commissioning activities.

After the Shuttle heads for home, Eyharts and the other members of the resident ISS crew will complete the commissioning of the laboratory and conduct its first scientific experiments.

Related Links
Human Spaceflight and Exploration
International Space Station
STS-118 Mission Overview
Station at NASA
Station and More at Roscosmos
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Space Station Crew Gets Rid Of Trash
Houston (UPI) Jul 13, 2007
The International Space Station crew is preparing for the arrival of another Russian cargo spacecraft by discarding no longer needed items. The discarded hardware and miscellaneous items are being loaded into the Progress 24 cargo craft that will be cast off Aug. 1, to eventually be incinerated when it enters the Earth's atmosphere. With all trash gathered and stowed from the U.S. side, cosmonaut Oleg Kotov is now collecting and stowing waste from the Russian segment.







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