STS 122 Pin
Primary Payload: Columbus
Launch Date: Feb. 7, 2008
Launch Time: 2:45 p.m. EST
Launch Pad: 39A
Landing Date: Feb. 20
Landing Time: 9:07 a.m. EST
Landing Site: Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center
Inclination/Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles
With Commander Steve Frick and Pilot Alan Poindexter at the controls, Atlantis shot into space on a precise course to catch up with the International Space Station and deliver its European-built cargo — a science laboratory called Columbus. Mission Specialists Leland Melvin and Rex Walheim acted as flight engineers for the launch and landing phases. Mission Specialists Stanley Love and European Space Agency astronaut Hans Schlegel flew up on the lower level of the crew compartment.
It took three spacewalks and careful coordination of the space station and space shuttle robot arms to attach Columbus to the Harmony connecting node. It became the second station segment dedicated to cutting-edge research more than 200 miles above the Earth.
Columbus joined Destiny at the station. Destiny is NASA’s laboratory in space. Both labs will soon be joined by a third nation’s research contribution – the Japanese-built Kibo lab complex.
Atlantis also swapped crew members on the station, carrying European Space Agency astronaut Leopold Eyharts to the facility and bringing NASA astronaut Dan Tani back to Earth.
The flawless mission ended 13 days later on Feb. 20 with Atlantis again soaring through the skies of Florida. The shuttle and its international crew of seven astronauts returned to the spaceport having accomplished all the missions given them for the STS-122 mission.
Atlantis covered some 5.3 million miles during the STS-122 mission. The flight lasted 12 days, 18 hours, 21 minutes and 50 seconds.