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February 13, 2008

Schelegel speaks

Posted: 12:35 PM ET

Rex Walheim and German astronaut Hans Schlegel are outside the International Space Station, switching out a nitrogen fuel tank that was running low with a full one brought up on Atlantis. You may recall Schlegel is the astronaut with a bad case of motion sickness who had to be replaced by crew-mate Stan Love on the first spacewalk of the mission. In an interview on Tuesday afternoon, he admitted he was a little disappointed:

"No matter who does the job the main thing is it has to be done in the right way. And I think we, the two members outside and here inside and the ground team did an excellent job during that EVA 1. And of course personally I don't ... how do you say? I don't deny it's a little bit blue when that decision is the best decision but it's only personal. The bigger scheme is what's important."

He also said he was feeling "great," and declined to give any further details on exactly what was wrong with him, noting "medical issues are private."

In other news, flight controllers have decided it won't be necessary for spacewalkers to fix a torn thermal blanket sticking up on the shuttle's right OMS pod. Analysis indicated it could survive the fiery heat of atmospheric reentry without causing a problem.

And we should hear sometime today whether or not NASA will extend the mission an additional day. The astronauts have conserved enough fuel to stay an additional day - and everyone agrees that it would be great to keep the crew at the station an additional day to continue to help outfit the newly installed Columbus lab.

But station managers may decide they would rather see the shuttle off as planned and take that extra fuel to replenish supplies on the station. If there is no mission extension, Atlantis will land at the Kennedy Space Center at 10:16am on Tuesday, February 19.

-Kate Tobin, Senior Producer, CNN Science & Technology

Filed under: Uncategorized

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Richard   February 15th, 2008 2:09 pm ET

I'm so glad that, so far at least, this Shuttle mission's gone incredibly smoothly. OK, it is a very big shame for Schelegel that he was ill, but fortunately it didn't really affect the overall mission.

I just hope things carry on smoothly. 🙂 They're truly amazing astronauts!


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