NASA Assigns Crews for STS-127 and Expedition 19 Missions
NASA has assigned crews for the STS-127 space shuttle mission and the Expedition 19 International Space Station mission. The STS-127 mission will deliver the final components of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory to the station. Expedition 19 will double the size of the resident crew on the complex, expanding it to six people.
Expedition 19 will be commanded by cosmonaut and Russian Air Force Col. Gennady Padalka. In March 2009, he will command the Soyuz spacecraft that will launch him and astronaut Michael R. Barratt to the station. Astronaut Nicole P. Stott will join them, arriving on the STS-128 shuttle mission to replace Kopra. She will serve as a flight engineer and science officer and return to Earth on the next Soyuz spacecraft. Barratt and Stott will be making their first trips to space.
In May 2009, cosmonaut and Russian Air Force Lt. Col. Yuri Lonchakov will command a Soyuz spacecraft that will launch to join Expedition 19 in progress on the station. With Lonchakov will be European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne of Belgium and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert B. Thirsk. Their arrival will expand the station's crew size to six for the first time. Lonchakov and De Winne will serve as flight engineers on the station and return on the Soyuz with Stott. Thirsk also will serve as a flight engineer and will return to Earth on STS-129.
Expedition 19 will include visits by two space shuttle missions that will equip the station with the additional facilities needed to support a six-person crew. Expedition 19 also will prepare the station for the later arrival of Russian research modules and additional docking ports.
Padalka commanded Expedition 26 on Mir in 1998 and 1999, and Expedition 9 on the ISS in 2004. He was born in Krasnodar, Russia, and graduated from Eisk Military Aviation College.
Barratt considers Camas, Wash., his hometown. He has a bachelor's from the University of Washington, a master's from Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, and a doctorate of medicine from Northwestern University.
Stott considers Clearwater, Fla., her hometown. She has a bachelor's from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a master's from the University of Central Florida.
Lonchakov flew as a mission specialist on STS-100 in 2001. Born in Balkhash, Dzhezkazkansk Region, he graduated from the Orenburg Air Force Pilot School and the Zhukovski Air Force Academy.
De Winne flew an 11-day mission as a flight engineer on a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station in 2002. He was born in Ghent, Belgium, and graduated from the Royal School of Cadets. He has a master's from the Royal Military Academy.
Thirsk flew on STS-78 in 1996. He was born in New Westminster, British Columbia, and has a bachelor's from the University of Calgary, masters' degrees from MIT and a doctorate of medicine from McGill University.
Backup expedition crew assignments also have been made. A summary of Expedition 19's assigned crews and backups are:
Gennady Padalka, Russian cosmonaut (Backup: Maxim Suraev)
Mike Barratt, NASA astronaut (Backup: Shannon Walker)
Timothy Kopra, NASA astronaut (Backup: Timothy J. Creamer)
Nicole Stott, NASA astronaut (Backup: Catherine Coleman)
Yuri Lonchakov, Russian cosmonaut (Backup: Dmitri Kondratyev)
Frank De Winne, ESA astronaut (Backup: Andre Kuipers)
Robert Thirsk, CSA Astronaut (Backup: Chris A. Hadfield)