via ScienceDaily, NASA has announced a new scheduled launch date for the delayed Atlantis shuttle mission for Feb. 7 to deliver the European Space Agency Columbus laboratory module. The new module is by far the most important European contribution to the station and will be the cornerstone of their operations on the ISS.
"Atlantis is now scheduled to lift off from launch pad 39-A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center near Cape Canaveral, Florida at 14:45 Eastern Standard Time (EST) / 20:45 Central European Time (CET).
Docking with the ISS is scheduled for Saturday 9 February at 12:23 EST (18:23 CET). Landing is currently slated to take place at KSC on Monday 18 February at 09:57 EST (15:57 CET)."
German astronaut Hans Schlegal will take part in two of three space walks on the mission connecting the module, and French astronaut Leopold Eyharts will take part in activating the module during his extended mission at the station. Interestingly enough, the module will be monitored from a German facility near Munich over the life of the station.