German Chancellor Merkel meets US and European astronauts
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met ESA astronaut Hans Schlegel and the crew of Shuttle mission STS-122 at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin on 2 June 2008.
The German political leader was joined by ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). STS-122 crew members included Schlegel, from Germany, and NASA astronauts Stephen Frick, Rex Walheim, Stanley Love, Alan Poindexter and Leland Melvin.
The informal meeting took place at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin at the request of Chancellor Merkel, who is herself a physicist by education. The astronauts are in Europe as part of the STS-122 postflight tour, and used the occasion to brief her on the technical and scientific results of their hugely successful mission.
The primary objective of STS-122, which took place 7-20 February 2008, was to deliver ESA's Columbus science laboratory to the International Space Station. The mission also delivered ESA astronaut Léopold Eyharts, from France, to the ISS and brought US astronaut Daniel Tani back to Earth.