NASA Assigns Washington, D.C., Native to Upcoming Shuttle Mission
NASA astronaut and Air Force Col. Benjamin Alvin Drew will join the crew of the STS-118 space shuttle mission, targeted for launch Aug. 9.
Drew, born in Washington, will take a seat that opened when astronaut Clayton Anderson was moved to shuttle Atlantis' STS-117 flight, which is targeted to launch June 8. Anderson will begin a long-duration mission on the International Space Station, and current station crew member Suni Williams will return to Earth aboard Atlantis.
Shuttle Endeavour will carry Drew on his first spaceflight. He will serve as a mission specialist during STS-118, which will deliver another segment to continue building the station by 2010. Navy Cmdr. Scott Kelly will serve as STS-118's commander, and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Charles Hobaugh will be the pilot. Mission specialists are Tracy Caldwell, Ph.D., Rick Mastracchio, Barbara Morgan, the first educator astronaut, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Dr. Dave Williams.
Drew received bachelor's degrees in astronautical engineering and physics from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1984; a master's degree in aerospace science from Embry Riddle University, Daytona Beach, Fla., in 1995; and a master's degree in strategic studies in political science from the Air Force Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 2006. He received his commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Force in May 1984. He completed helicopter pilot training and flew combat missions in operations Just Cause, Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Provide Comfort. Drew was selected as an astronaut in 2000.