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  STS-133: Crew assignments

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Author Topic:   STS-133: Crew assignments
Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-18-2009 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Assigns Crew For Final Scheduled Space Shuttle Mission

NASA has assigned the crew for the last scheduled space shuttle mission, targeted to launch in September 2010. The flight to the International Space Station will carry a pressurized logistics module to the station.

Veteran shuttle commander and retired Air Force Col. Steven W. Lindsey will command the eight-day mission, designated STS-133. Air Force Col. Eric A. Boe will serve as the pilot; it will be his second flight as a shuttle pilot. Mission Specialists are shuttle mission veteran Air Force Col. Benjamin Alvin Drew, Jr., and long-duration spaceflight veterans Michael R. Barratt, Army Col. Timothy L. Kopra and Nicole P. Stott.

Lindsey will be making his fifth shuttle flight. He served as the pilot of STS-87 in 1997 and STS-95 in 1998, and commanded STS-104 in 2001 and STS-121 in 2006. Lindsey was born in Arcadia, Calif., and considers Temple City, Calif., to be his hometown. He has a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a master's degree from the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Lindsey currently is chief of the Astronaut Office. Long-duration spaceflight veteran and former space station commander Peggy A. Whitson has been named his successor when Lindsey transitions in October to training for his spaceflight. Whitson was a flight engineer aboard the station during Expedition 5 in 2002 and the commander of Expedition 16 in 2007 to 2008.

Boe will be making his second shuttle flight. He was the pilot of STS-126 in 2008. He was born in Miami and grew up in Atlanta. Boe has a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a master's degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Drew flew as a mission specialist on STS-118 in 2007 and is currently the director of Operations at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. He was born in Washington, D.C. Drew has two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a master's degree from Embry Riddle University.

Barratt, a medical doctor, currently is on his first mission, aboard the space station as a flight engineer for Expeditions 19 and 20. He launched to the station on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft March 26 and is due to return to Earth on the same Soyuz Oct. 11. Barratt was born in Vancouver, Wash., and considers Camas, Wash., his hometown. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington, a master's degree from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and a doctorate of medicine from Northwestern University.

Kopra just completed his first spaceflight, as a flight engineer aboard the space station for Expedition 20. He launched July 15 on shuttle mission STS-127 and landed aboard shuttle mission STS-128 on Sept. 11. Kopra was born in Austin, Texas. He has a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Military Academy, and master's degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the U.S. Army War College.

Stott is in the midst of her first mission as a flight engineer aboard the station with Barratt for Expeditions 20 and 21. She launched aboard STS-128 on Aug. 28 and is due to return at the end of STS-129, targeted for launch Nov. 12. She was born in Albany, N.Y., and considers Clearwater, Fla., her hometown. She has a bachelor's degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a master's degree from the University of Central Florida.

Mr Meek
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posted 09-18-2009 02:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr Meek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sure as we get closer to the launch, the finality will be overwhelming to us "Shuttle kids," but for now I do have one question. I thought that STS-133 was limited to five astronauts due to the weight of the payload. Obviously, that's no longer the case. Any word from NASA on how the other seat opened up?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-18-2009 02:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The reports of a five person crew were based only on planning documents.

On a similar topic, the release also doesn't state that the mission will leave the pressurized logistics module at the space station, although it is still in work.

ASCAN1984
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posted 09-18-2009 03:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is so cool. Two of the crew are on orbit as we speak and the other has just returned last week.

Delta7
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posted 09-18-2009 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting. I presume Lindsey selected himself for the flight. I wonder how that's going to go over; remember Dan Brandenstein received the sling of arrows for doing that twice while he was Chief of the Astronaut Office, and Hoot Gibson only acceded to GWSA's insistence that he command STS-71 with the provision that it be known it wasn't HIS decision.

It's also interesting to note that the last few shuttle flights are heavily crewed by ISS expedition veterans (Anderson, Reisman, Fincke, Chamitoff, Barratt, Kopra and Stott), two of whom are currently on-board the ISS.

Greggy_D
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posted 09-18-2009 03:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And once again... Anna Fisher is passed over. There has to be more to the story.

328KF
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posted 09-18-2009 03:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A question for the "insiders" here. Is there any surprise that Lindsey picked himself for the last flight (as Young did for STS-1)? Nothing at all against Lindsey... he seems to be a good leader who has had to deal with some unprecedented and embarrassing situations his subordinates found themselves in.

Two other items of note:

Three Air Force Academy guys on the crew, and no Navy. I understand that the bias in the astronaut office has always been toward the Navy pilots. It would seem that the Chief has the last laugh here.

And... is this the first time that a crewmember in flight has been assigned another flight? It would be cool to see Stott's reaction when she was told.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-18-2009 03:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have submitted to NASA a request to interview Lindsey early next week, so perhaps some of the questions around his assignment will be answered soon, but one factor to consider in the meantime: we do not know the time line of events.

Lindsey may have been assigned (by self or other) to STS-133 before it was decided that the mission would fly after STS-134, in which case his appointment would take on a different context.

With regards to Nicole Stott -- and Michael Barratt -- learning of their assignment in space, according to NASA spokesman James Hartsfield, they were likely informed during a regularly scheduled private telecon with management, though when that particular meeting took place was not known.

NASA affirms this is the first time that two astronauts have been assigned together to a new mission while their current flight was still on-going, but it is not yet known if this is the first time for an individual.

328KF
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posted 09-18-2009 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I failed to mention that Barratt was in the same situation as Stott. Thanks for pointing that out Robert.

An all-vet Space shuttle crew is fairly rare too. STS-26 and the STS-83/94 re-flight come to mind. Any others?

Delta7
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posted 09-18-2009 04:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it's great Lindsey is flying again. And I never really agreed with all the fuss made about a Chief Astronaut picking himself for a mission; someone has to fly it and so long as it doesn't get ridiculous I don't see the problem. I'm just surprised it's happening, GIVEN the past controversy.

Delta7
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posted 09-18-2009 04:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
STS-26 and the STS-83/94 re-flight come to mind. Any others?
STS-31; STS-76; STS-79; STS-80; STS-81; STS-97.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-18-2009 04:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
An all-vet Space shuttle crew is fairly rare too.
There is, of course, a simple reason why STS-133 (as well as STS-132 and STS-134) is an all-veteran crew: there are no eligible-for-flight rookie astronauts remaining.

mjanovec
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posted 09-18-2009 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
I'm just surprised it's happening, GIVEN the past controversy.
I suspect that, as long as NASA management was okay with the decision, Lindsey had no reason not to pick himself for the final flight. It's somewhat of a prize to capture that last flight and, realistically, he may not be too worried about any fallout from the decision. After all, he may have already decided (in his own mind) not to stick around long after he completes that flight.

chappy
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posted 09-18-2009 05:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chappy   Click Here to Email chappy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm glad to hear that the final shuttle crew had been named, and I'm glad that Steven Lindsey is flying again, no matter what the public thinks that he names himself for the final shuttle mission.

What is bugging me is that I thought (presumably) that NASA had limited the flights to four per astronaut in order to make room for the rookies to fly. Remember, Terry Wilcutt was removed from a flight, his possible fifth flight.

Anyway, I'm supporting the selection of the final shuttle crew.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-18-2009 08:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chappy:
...in order to make room for the rookies to fly.
As there are no remaining eligble-for-flight rookies in the Astronaut Office, any such restriction would be no longer necessary.

Delta7
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posted 09-18-2009 08:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's also a symbolic position as commander of the last shuttle mission. I hope there's a great photo of Lindsey and John Young during the post-landing walk-around! And one of Young and Crippen with the entire crew!

328KF
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posted 09-18-2009 09:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
I hope there's a great photo of Lindsey and John Young during the post-landing walk-around! And one of Young and Crippen with the entire crew!
I like the way you think... wouldn't that be something?

chappy
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posted 09-19-2009 12:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chappy   Click Here to Email chappy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I second that having John Young and Robert Crippen at the end of the last shuttle mission welcoming STS-133 home on the runway will be a perfect finish to the end of the shuttle programme.

Let us put forward the plan to NASA and propose this idea, and I'm sure that Charles Bolden will back this idea.

issman1
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posted 09-19-2009 01:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If this is indeed the last shuttle crew then it's a strong one to end the programme on. Curiously there are no EVAs scheduled for what will be an 8-day flight - the shortest for years. Could it be that PAO events will dominate the STS-133 timeline?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-19-2009 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The mission will be busy for the astronauts, with six, rather than seven, crew members. Based on prior missions' schedules, STS-133's eight days (nine flight days) could play out as follows:
  • FD1: Launch
  • FD2: Inspections
  • FD3: Docking
  • FD4: Berthing PLM
  • FD5: Transfer activities
  • FD6: Transfer activities
  • FD7: Stowing PLM/hatch close
  • FD8: Undocking/Late inspections
  • FD9: Landing
If the PLM is fully packed and is not being left at the station, then the STS-133 crew has two, maybe three days, to do what STS-128 had seven days to accomplish.

Jay Chladek
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posted 09-19-2009 03:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That could explain the reason for ISS vets onboard. Recent ISS expedition crew members tend to know where all the cubby holes are to stash stuff and the proper unpacking procedures. So they can get up to speed quicker. With a six person crew on the ISS though, I suppose one or two members could offer some part time assistance if required.

hitster
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posted 09-21-2009 11:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hitster   Click Here to Email hitster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
During a recent programme on the history or NASA, Bob Crippen was telling the story about when he was offered the pilot's seat on the first Shuttle flight and he said it was expected that John Young would command the first mission as he was Senior Astronaut.

So the other astronauts would probably not have a problem with Lindsay commanding Shuttle Flight 133 and with him stepping down as head of the Astronaut office then he isn't doing two roles at once.

I was wondering if they might do a "John Glenn" and put one of the former astronauts in the crew as it was the last flight if their health was up to it. Col Glenn flew at 77 years old and there are several moonwalkers who would be about the same age in 2010.

Delta7
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posted 09-21-2009 11:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One major difference with STS-1, however, was the fact that it was a first manned flight of a spacecraft that hadn't flown in space at all unmanned, and was extremely complicated and risky. It made sense to put NASA's most experienced astronaut at the time (Young, by far) in command of that mission. STS-133 is more symbolic and historic than critical.

Jay Chladek
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posted 09-21-2009 04:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
Three Air Force Academy guys on the crew, and no Navy. I understand that the bias in the astronaut office has always been toward the Navy pilots. It would seem that the Chief has the last laugh here.

Well, it does seem appropriate considering the first shuttle mission (STS-1) had an ALL Navy crew in the form of Young and Crippen. All aside, I imagine if a Navy shuttle astronaut were pressed on the issue, he might say something to the affect of "Well, the Air Force has ALWAYS followed the Navy into space. So they are just going where Navy has gone before."

Now the one interesting question might be if at the end of the mission when they were about to align with the HAC to turn to final if Lindsey might let Boe keep on the stick to fly it to touchdown or not? The flight plan calls for the PLT to get a little stick time on the approach before turning back over to the CDR, but if 133 remains the final flight, then there wouldn't be any more opportunities to fly and since nobody has landed a shuttle from the right seat before, it might make for an interesting first. Hmmmmm.

mjanovec
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posted 09-21-2009 05:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
Now the one interesting question might be if at the end of the mission when they were about to align with the HAC to turn to final if Lindsey might let Boe keep on the stick to fly it to touchdown or not?

That would be an interesting change of events, but I doubt it would happen...as the landing is the commander's ultimate responsibility at the end of the mission (not to mention his/her big moment in the spotlight). I suspect that all commanders take tremendous pride in their role of landing an orbiter and would likely not willingly give up that distinction. This goes especially for STS-133, since Lindsey's hands will likely direct the last movement of the orbiter during a shuttle mission. He'll likely want to be in full control all the way up to wheel stop (after Boe is given a few seconds to handle the orbiter during the approach, of course).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-21-2009 05:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't feel too bad for Boe; as pilot, he'll be at the helm for the final departure from the space station, not to mention the final fly-around of the orbiting outpost -- moments in history in their own right.

OV-105
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posted 09-21-2009 08:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read where they had been looking at making 133 a 5 person flight and removing the rear radiators from the CBD's and also a set of cryo tanks. They will have enough to do an emergency EVA if needed. This was so they could take as much on the up hill as they can.

Jay Chladek
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posted 09-22-2009 02:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now that will make for an interesting sight on orbit as I don't recall ever seeing an orbiter fly before with the rear radiators removed from the doors. If they are keeping the weight that low, I'll bet there will be a lot of jokes floating around the astronaut office about the crew having to stay slim so they can lift as much material as they can to the ISS.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-25-2009 09:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Los Angeles Times has a brief interview with Lindsey, in which he says he did not assign himself to the STS-133 crew:
When they asked if I wanted to do the last flight, I thought about it for a while. I said three years ago that I was done flying. But I finally decided to do it.
NASA has confirmed that I will be interviewing Lindsey as well, and I plan to ask him more about how the final crew came together.

DavidH
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posted 10-02-2009 09:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Personally, I just think it's cool that the Chief Astronaut is once again flying on the last flight of a vehicle. This should now be an official NASA tradition.

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