Tuesday, August 11, 2009

NASA Names Final Space Shuttle Astronaut Crew

Blogger Note: STS-134 currently is scheduled for launch on Sept. 16, 2010; STS-133 is currently scheduled for launch on July 29, 2010. NASA officials, however, say the STS-134 mission might move up to the July timeframe, which would make STS-133 the final shuttle flight. The STS-133 mission is the only remaining shuttle flight without an assigned crew.

This just in from NASA:

NASA has assigned the crew for space shuttle mission STS-134 to the International Space Station. The flight will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, or AMS, to the station. The AMS is a state-of-the-art cosmic ray particle physics detector designed to examine fundamental issues about matter and the origin and structure of the universe.

Navy Capt. Mark Kelly will command the STS-134 mission. Retired Air Force Col. Gregory H. Johnson will serve as the pilot. Mission Specialists are Air Force Col. Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff and Andrew Feustel. European Space Agency astronaut and Italian Air Force Col. Roberto Vittori also will serve as a mission specialist.

The flight will include three spacewalks and the installation of the AMS to the exterior of the space station using both the shuttle and station arms. The AMS will be attached to the right side of the station's truss, or backbone.

NASA also has named Air Force Col. Michael Good to replace Karen Nyberg on shuttle Atlantis' STS-132 mission, targeted to launch in May 2010. Nyberg is being replaced due to a temporary medical condition. Nyberg will be assigned to a technical role while she awaits a future assignment.

Kelly previously served as the pilot of STS-108 in 2001 and STS-121 in 2006, and commander for STS-124 in 2008. He was born in Orange, N.J., and considers West Orange, N.J., to be his hometown. Kelly has a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, King's Point, N.Y., and a master's degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

Johnson previously flew as a pilot on STS-123 in 2008. He was born in South Ruislip, Middlesex, United Kingdom, but graduated from Park Hills High School in Fairborn, Ohio. Johnson has a bachelor's from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., and master's degrees from Columbia University and the University of Texas, Austin.

Fincke is a veteran of two long-duration missions aboard the space station. He served as the NASA science officer and flight engineer on Expedition 9, and commander for Expedition 18. He was born in Pittsburgh and considers Emsworth, Pa., his hometown. He has an Associate Science degree from El Camino College in Torrance, Calif., two bachelor's degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and master's degrees from Stanford University and the University of Houston - Clear Lake.

Chamitoff, also a veteran of a long-duration spaceflight, served as NASA science officer and a flight engineer on Expeditions 17 and 18. He was born in Montreal and grew up in San Jose, Calif. He holds a bachelor's degree from California Polytechnic State University, a master's degree from the California Institute of Technology, a second master's degree from UHCL and a doctorate from MIT.

STS-134 is the second mission for Feustel, who flew as a mission specialist on STS-125 in May. He has an Associate Science degree from Oakland Community College, Mich., a bachelor's and a master's degree from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., and a doctorate from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Feustel considers Lake Orion, Mich., his hometown.

Vittori is a veteran of two prior spaceflights to the space station aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. He was born in Viterbo, Italy. He received his bachelor's degree from the Italian Air Force Academy and earned master's degrees from the University of Naples and University of Perugia.

This will be the second mission for Good, who flew on STS-125. He was born in Parma, Ohio, and considers Broadview Heights, Ohio to be his hometown. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Notre Dame.

ABOUT THE IMAGE: Click to enlarge the Florida Today photo of shuttle Endeavour gliding to a safe landing at Kennedy Space Center on July 31. Photo credit: Michael R. Brown/Florida Today.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is not the last crew. STS-133 will be the last crew named, and it looks like 134 will fly before 133.

Todd Halvorson said...

To anonymous: Sorry, but I have to reject your comment. If you delete the profanities and resubmit, then we'll be happy to publish your comments.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping that since the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer is a multinational project, including China, a taikonaut may have flown on this flight. Wouldn't it have been a great way for the USA and China to show the world peaceful co-existence? And a nice way to bring China into the ISS. In return, a NASA astronaut could have been assigned to a future Shenzhou flight docking at the ISS? Vision is sadly lacking in our world whoever is in power

Anonymous said...

Watch for hitches, glitches, delays, etc. Mark Kelly and STS-134 won't fly before Scott Kelly is on the Station. NASA would never miss a photo-op like that!

Cynic

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