11 June 2007

STS-124 (Atlantis) crew named

ZUI this announcement from NASA:
NASA has assigned the crew for space shuttle mission STS-124, targeted for launch in February 2008. The flight will deliver the Pressurized Module and robotic arm of the Japanese Experiment Module, known as "Kibo" (hope), to the International Space Station.

Navy Cmdr. Mark E. Kelly will command the space shuttle Atlantis during the mission. Navy Cmdr. Kenneth T. Ham will serve as the pilot. Mission specialists will include NASA astronauts Karen L. Nyberg; Air Force Col. Ronald J. Garan, Jr.; Air Force Reserve Col. Michael E. Fossum; and Navy Cmdr. Stephen G. Bowen. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide also will serve as a mission specialist.

The STS-124 mission is the second of three flights that will launch components to complete the Kibo laboratory. The mission will include two spacewalks to install the new lab and its remote manipulator system. The lab's logistics module, which will have been installed in a temporary location during STS-123, will be attached to the new lab.

This will be CDR Kelly's third space flight (after STS-108 in 2001 and STS-121 in 2006), and COL Fossum's second (after STS-121); the other five will be making their first.

And it should be noted that CDR Bowen will be the first bubblehead* in space. It's about damn' time.... (When I was working at Squadron, one of the Engineers** was putting in for the astronaut programme, but I don't think he ever got picked up for it.)

* JO on Parche (SSN 683) and Pogy (SSN 647), Eng on Augusta (SSN 710) and PXO on Virginia (SSN 774).

** Both squadrons - 6 and 8 - were in the building, sharing offices, and I can't remember which squadron he worked for. Or, alas, his name.

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