Atlantis spent nearly 13 days in space on the STS-122 mission, including nine days docked to the Space Station to conduct the major task of delivering Europe's first permanent human outpost in orbit.
The seven-metre 12.8-tonne Columbus multidisciplinary laboratory was attached to the Harmony (Node 2) module on 11 February.
Once leak checks and initial electrical, fluid and data connections were completed, the module's hatch was opened on 12 February.
Outfitting work inside Columbus began only a few hours later, as the laboratory entered its commissioning phase commanded by the Columbus Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhoffen near Munich, Germany.
The pressurised volume of the Space Station was increased by 15 per cent with the addition of Columbus, but its science capacity was nearly doubled.
Two modules of a Japanese laboratory will be added in March and May, and a Russian multi-purpose laboratory module will follow in 2011.
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