Shuttle Astronaut Feeling 'Very Fine' After Malady

Shuttle Astronaut Feeling 'Very Fine' After Malady
German ESA astronaut Hans Schlegel (center with microphone), STS-122 commander Stephen Frick (left) and pilot Alan Poindexter discuss their mission with reporters from the Atlantis shuttle flight deck on Feb. 12, 2008. (Image credit: NASA TV.)

HOUSTON — Ashuttle astronaut pulled from a spacewalk earlier this week is feeling better ashe and his crewmates continue what they called an ?amazing? construction flightto the International Space Station (ISS).

Germanastronaut Hans Schlegel declined to go into the details of his malady, but toldreporters that he is back at full strength after a medical issue prevented himfrom taking part in aMonday spacewalk to help deliver the European Space Agency?s (ESA) Columbuslaboratory to the ISS. ??

?I?m doingvery fine,? Schlegel said via a space-to-ground video link after he andcrewmates openedthe new lab today. ?I worked all day today on Columbus and then to preparemy [spacewalk] with Rex Walheim tomorrow.?

Schlegeland Walheim will pay a maintenance call on the space station?s cooling systemWednesday when they replace an empty nitrogen tank during their mission?ssecond spacewalk. Mission managers delayed the flight?s first spacewalk,originally planned for Sunday, by one day to swap Schlegel with fellowspacewalker Stanley Love.

But whilehe was personally disappointed in staying inside the NASA?s Atlantis orbiter,Schlegel said he supported the call and was excited to assist the spacewalkers frominside the spacecraft alongside shuttle pilot Alan Poindexter.

?Nobodycould have been happier than me when we finished,? Schlegel said. ?That?s all Iwant to say because medical issues are private.?

Commandedby the veteran shuttle astronaut Stephen Frick, NASA?s STS-122mission to deliver Columbus and a new Expedition 16 crewmember to thestation is nearly half over. Tuesday marked Flight Day 6 of a planned 12-dayspaceflight, which includes two more spacewalks scheduled for Wednesday andFriday, respectively.

?The viewof the Earth is probably the most incredible personal experience that peoplehave,? Frick said from the flight deck of Atlantis. ?It?s just an amazing experienceand we get to do it for 11 or 12 days.?

Atlantis?seven-astronaut crew ferried French astronaut Leopold Eyharts of the ESA to theISS, where he joined the station?s Expedition 16 crew and will oversee the commissionof Columbus over the next month. Eyharts replaced NASA astronaut Dan Tani, whowill return to Earth with the STS-122 crew when they land on Feb. 19.

Poindexter,who like Love and crewmate Leland Melvin is making his first spaceflight onSTS-122, said the space station is a beautiful place to work, even if it isonly 57 percent complete.

?It?s justa wonderful experience,? Poindexter said. ?It?s busy work, but it sure is fun.?

NASA isbroadcasting Atlantis' STS-122 mission live on NASA TV. Click here for'sshuttle mission coverage and NASA TV feed. 

  • NEW IMAGES: STS-122 Launch Day for Shuttle Atlantis
  • VIDEO: ESA's New Science Laboratory
  • Complete Space Shuttle Mission Coverage


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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.