Commander Steve Frick and his crewmates, Pilot Alan Poindexter and Mission Specialists Leland Melvin, Rex Walheim, Stanley Love, Hans Schlegel and Leopold Eyharts, today completed a five-hour inspection of Atlantis' heat shield using the shuttle's robotic arm and the Orbiter Boom Sensor System. Imagery analysts and engineers on the ground will add today's three-dimensional sensor images to imagery and accelerometer data collected at launch and during the climb to orbit and continue their analysis of the shuttle's heat shield.
Also today, the crew checked out the tools that will be used during tomorrow's rendezvous and docking to the station, installed the centerline camera that will be used during docking and extended the outer ring of the Orbiter Docking System.
Spacewalkers Walheim, Schlegel and Love checked out the spacesuits that they will wear during the mission's three spacewalks. At 2:02 p.m. Walheim reported that the suits had been fully prepared for transfer to the space station.
On board the space station, Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko and Dan Tani readied the station for the arrival of Atlantis' crew by conducting a leak check of Pressurized Mating Adapter-2, Atlantis' docking point.
Tomorrow, Frick will perform the rendezvous pitch maneuver, an orbiter back-flip 600 feet below the space station that will allow Whitson and Malenchenko to take hundreds of detailed images of the orbiter's underside. With the pitch maneuver complete, Frick will fly the shuttle ahead of the station and slowly ease the orbiter back to a docking with the space station.
Tomorrow also marks Whitson's 48th birthday. She commented today that she was looking forward to Atlantis' arrival as her birthday present.
The STS-122 crew is on an 11-day mission that will deliver a new research module to the International Space Station, the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory. Columbus will be Europe's largest contribution to the construction of the station, adding 2,648 cubic feet of pressurized volume, four science experiment racks and one storage rack to the orbiting complex.
Atlantis' crew is scheduled to go to sleep at 7:45 p.m. and will awaken at 3:45 a.m.