STS-122 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS), flown by the Space Shuttle Atlantis. STS-122 marked the 24th shuttle mission to the ISS, and the 121st space shuttle flight overall. The mission was also referred to as ISS-1E by the ISS program. The primary objective of STS-122 was to deliver the European Columbus science laboratory, built by the European Space Agency (ESA), to the station. It also returned Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Daniel M. Tani to Earth. Tani was replaced on Expedition 16 by LÃ©opold Eyharts, a French Flight Engineer representing ESA. After Atlantis' landing, the orbiter was prepared for STS-125, the final servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope.
The International Space Station programme is tied together by a complex set of legal, political and financial agreements between the sixteen nations involved in the project, governing ownership of the various components, rights to crewing and utilization, and responsibilities for crew rotation and resupply of the International Space Station. It was conceived in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, during the Space Station Freedom project as it was originally called.