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STS-122 Spacewalkers Complete Second Outing As Mission Extended

Spacewalker Rex Walheim works in the payload bay of space shuttle Atlantis. Photo credit: NASA TV
by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Feb 14, 2008
Astronauts Rex Walheim and Hans Schlegel completed the second of STS-122's three scheduled spacewalks at 4:12 p.m. EST. The excursion lasted six hours and 45 minutes. The spacewalkers completed the removal of an expended Nitrogen Tank Assembly (NTA) and the installation of a new one on the P1 truss. The tank is part of the orbital outpost's cooling system.

With the help of the station's robotic arm, the spacewalkers moved the new NTA from its position in space shuttle Atlantis' payload bay. They temporarily stowed it on a Crew and Equipment Translation Aid cart while they removed the expended tank. With the new NTA installed, the old tank was transferred to the orbiter's payload bay for return to Earth.

Because they finished their primary tasks early, the spacewalkers were able to install thermal covers on the trunnion pins on the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory. They also inspected and adjusted the U.S. Destiny laboratory's orbital debris shields.

Mission Specialist Stanley Love will join Walheim for STS-122's third spacewalk on Friday at 8:35 a.m. They will install two payloads on the exterior of the Columbus laboratory: SOLAR, an observatory to monitor the sun; and the European Technology Exposure Facility that will carry eight experiments requiring exposure to the space environment.

The space shuttle Mission Management Team, at the request of the International Space Station Program, has extended the STS-122 mission to 13 days. Atlantis will undock from the space station on Monday, Feb. 18, and land at 8:59 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

earlier related report
Astronauts start second spacewalk
Two astronauts, including a German who fell ill at the beginnning of the Atlantis space shuttle mission, began a second of three planned spacewalks Wednesday, the US space agency NASA said.

After spending the night in a decompression chamber on the orbiting International Space Station, the two astronauts, American Rex Walheim and his German colleague Hans Schlegel, walked out into space at 1427 GMT.

Their walk began three minutes earlier than scheduled.

Schlegel was unable to take part in the first spacewalk when he fell ill on Saturday just as the Atlantis docked with the space station. His illness had delayed the first spacewalk by 24 hours until Monday.

The Atlantis team is helping to install a European laboratory, called Columbus, which they brought with them from Earth. It is a research facility that gives Europe a key foothold for the deeper exploration of the cosmos.

The two billion dollar lab was brought up to the station on the Atlantis shuttle and attached Monday by Walheim and US astronaut Stanley Love in a spacewalk lasting more than six hours.

Wednesday's second spacewalk was to replace a nitrogen tank on the space station, with the two astronauts first having to remove the old tank, before installing the new one.

The new one, also flown to the space station on Atlantis, will be maneuvered into place with the aid of a robotic arm, and the old tank will be flown back to Earth on the shuttle.

A third spacewalk is planned for Friday when Walheim and Love are due to install a solar observatory on the outside of the Columbus lab, as well as another external facility known as an EuTEF which will contain eight experiments measuring the properties of materials in space.

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Columbus Installed In New Home On ISS
Paris, France (ESA) Feb 13, 2008
The European Columbus laboratory has completed its voyage to the International Space Station. Columbus was officially attached to the right side of the Harmony module at 22:44 CET this evening. ESA astronaut Leopold Eyharts, who was at the controls of the Station's robotic arm for the final capture and initial berthing of Columbus, reported to Mission Control, "The European Columbus module is now part of the ISS."

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