Monday, April 12, 2010

Space Firsts Marked 49 Years After Gagarin, 29 Years After 1st Shuttle

Forty-nine years after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to fly in outer space, and 29 years after Columbia blasted off on the first U.S. shuttle mission, NASA and its global partners still are chalking up firsts in space.

Discovery and its seven astronauts are visiting the International Space Station, taking a half-day off midway through NASA's 131st shuttle mission. Onboard with them is the station's current resident crew of six.

The joint mission marks:

++The first time four women have flown in space simultaneously. Discovery's crew include Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson and Naoko Yamizuki of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The station crew includes U.S. astronaut Tracy Caldwell-Dyson.

++The first time two Japanese astronauts have flown in space simultaneously. Yamizuki on the shuttle crew and Soichi Noguchi on the station crew.

++The first time three Russian cosmonauts have flown aboard the station together. They include station commander Oleg Kotov and flight engineers Mikhail Kornlenko and Alexander Skvortsov.

The Japanese milestone will be marked in a JAXA Public Affairs event that will be broadcast live at 6:41 a.m. You can watch right here in The Flame Trench. Click the NASA TV box on the right side of the page to launch our NASA TV viewer and be sure to refresh this page for periodic updates.

An interpreted replay of the JAXA event will air at 8 a.m.

Discovery's astronauts will get back to work around 6:51 a.m., hauling supplies and equipment between the shuttle and the station. Some 7.5 tons is being transferred from the shuttle to the station during Discovery's stay. And 3.5 tons of surplus gear and trash are being packed into Discovery for the return trip to Earth.

NASA flight commentator Rob Navias reports that 75 percent of the transfer work is complete and the shuttle crew is well ahead of schedule in that regard.


Anonymous said...

Its 29 years after first Shuttle launch......1981

Conor said...

The headline still shows 20 years.