Posts Tagged ‘Astronaut’

Space Shuttle Discovery’s Astronaut Crew Arrives at Florida Launch Site

Monday, February 21st, 2011

The six astronauts who will fly the space shuttle Discovery on its final mission to the International Space Station arrived at NASA’s Florida spaceport today (Feb. 20), four days ahead of their historic launch.

The crewmembers all touched down here at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center by about 3:45 p.m. EST (2045 GMT).

Shuttle commander Steve Lindsey, pilot Eric Boe and mission specialists Michael Barratt, Alvin Drew, Nicole Stott and Steve Bowen flew into Florida on supersonic T-38 jets from the agency’s training headquarters at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

NASA administrator Charles Bolden was on hand to greet the astronauts upon their arrival.

“We’re back here for another attempt at this,” Lindsey told reporters who had gathered for the crew’s arrival. “We’re pretty confident about this one. The external tank problem we’ve been working for the last several months is probably the most difficult, technical challenge we’ve faced in recent years. The team did a great job of coming together, figuring out a very difficult engineering problem, and coming up with a solution that I think gives us a really good tank to go launch with this week.”

Lindsey also spoke about the challenges that have been faced on the crew side – mission specialist Steve Bowen was selected by NASA less than six weeks ago to replace Tim Kopra, who was injured in a bike accident on Jan. 15. (more…)

NASA’s Week of Surprises for Shuttle Crew

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

First the Wife of Endeavour Commander Mark Kelly Is Shot, Then a Crew Member Has Bike Accident

The events of the last two Saturdays have stunned NASA in a way the space agency could never anticipated.

Mark Kelly, Endeavour’s commander for the space shuttle mission in April, found himself on the way to Arizona where his wife, Rep, Gabrielle Giffords, was critically injured in a shooting. Kelly, at his wife’s bedside while she fights for recovery, asked NASA to name a backup commander, Rick Sturckow, for Kelly’s mission.

This past weekend, astronaut Tim Kopra was injured during a bicycle ride. The extent of his injuries has not been released, but they are serious enough to have mission managers scrambling to consider who could take his place on the STS 133 mission, Discovery’s oft-delayed final flight, which is tentatively scheduled to launch next month.

NASA’s choices: Wait for Kopra to heal from his injuries, or replace him on the mission. Kopra has been training for his two spacewalks for well over a year — his mission was originally scheduled to fly in September 2010 and it was once the last space shuttle flight before the fleet was retired.

Astronauts give up anything risky when they start training for a flight — no car racing, no sky diving, no scuba diving, no mountain climbing. Drew Feustel, who flew on the last mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, had to indulge his love for fast cars on the sidelines, watching his sons’ race. Scott Parazynksi climbed Mount Everest only after he retired from the astronaut corps. (more…)