Atlantis: Launch planned for January 2008
The European Space Laboratory Columbus will launch on Space Shuttle Atlantis on 10 January 2008. Wayne Hale, Space Shuttle Programme manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center said: "Moving the next launch attempt of Atlantis to January 10 will allow as many people as possible to have time with family and friends at the time of year when it means the most. A lot has been asked of them this year and a lot will be asked of them in 2008."
The liftoff date from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida, depends on the resolution of a problem in a fuel sensor system. The shuttle's planned launches on Dec. 6 and Dec. 9 were postponed because of false readings from the part of the system that monitors the liquid hydrogen section of the tank.
Atlantis' main objective during its STS-122 mission to the International Space Station is to install and activate the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory, which will provide scientists around the world the ability to conduct a variety of life, physical and materials science experiments.
Columbus is Europe's biggest single contribution to the International Space Station. The 4.5-metre diameter cylindrical module is equipped with flexible reseach facilities that offer extensive science capabilities. The Columbus Control Centre will be based at DLR's Oberpfaffenhofen facility, near Munich.