Installing the laboratory, named for Christopher Columbus, is the primary goal of this 121st space shuttle mission. It will add 2,648 cubic feet of pressurized volume, four science experiment racks and one storage rack to the space station.
This morning's wakeup song, 'The Book of Love,' performed by Peter Gabriel, was played for European Space Agency astronaut Leopold Eyharts at 3:45 a.m. CST. Eyharts will become a member of the Expedition 16 crew, replacing Flight Engineer Dan Tani, after Atlantis arrives at the space station Saturday.
Today Atlantis Commander Steve Frick and his crewmates, Pilot Alan Poindexter and Mission Specialists Leland Melvin, Rex Walheim, Stanley Love, Hans Schlegel and Eyharts will perform an inspection of Atlantis' heat shield using the shuttle's robotic arm and the Orbiter Boom Sensor System. They'll also check out the tools they need for Saturday's rendezvous and docking to the station and install a centerline camera in the shuttle's orbiter docking system.
Spacewalkers Walheim, Schlegel and Love will prepare spacesuits that they will wear during the mission's three spacewalks; two by Walheim and Schlegel and one by Walheim and Love.
The International Space Station's Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko and Tani started their day at 4 a.m. CST. Today they will conduct a leak check of the Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 where Atlantis will dock to the station Saturday morning at 11:25 a.m. CST.