KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.--Chief astronaut Steven Lindsey, a veteran of four shuttle missions, will command an all-veteran six-member crew for the final planned space shuttle flight next year, NASA announced Friday. Peggy Whitson, an experienced space station commander, will take over as chief astronaut as the shuttle program winds down.
Lindsey will be joined by pilot Eric Boe and mission specialists Benjamin "Al" Drew, Michael Barratt, Nicole Stott, and Timothy Kopra, all space veterans. Barratt and Stott are currently in orbit aboard the International Space Station while Kopra just returned from a long-duration stay.
Launch aboard the shuttle Discovery on mission STS-133 is targeted for September 2010. During the eight-day flight, a modified logistics module used to ferry equipment and supplies to and from the space station will be permanently mounted on the Earth-facing port of the central Unity module. No spacewalks are currently planned.
Barratt, who launched to the station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft last March, is scheduled to return to Earth with Expedition 20 commander Gennady Padalka on October 11. Stott, who replaced Kopra aboard the station during Discovery's just-completed mission, is scheduled to come home with the crew of the next shuttle flight in November.
Only six shuttle flights remain before the program is retired, all bound for the International Space Station. With Friday's announcement, all of the crews are now assigned and no unassigned rookies remain in NASA's astronaut office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Here is the shuttle manifest as it currently stands:
- 11/12/09: Atlantis, STS-129/ISS-ULF-3 (external spares); 3 EVAs (spacewalks)
- 02/04/10: Endeavour, STS-130/ISS-20A (Tranquility module; cupola); 3 EVAs
- 03/18/10: Discovery, STS-131/ISS-19A (logistics module; science racks); 3 EVAs
- 05/14/10: Atlantis, STS-132/ISS-ULF-4 (Russian research module; spares); 3 EVAs
- 07/29/10: Endeavour, STS-134/ISS-ULF-6 (Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer); 3 EVAs
- 09/16/10: Discovery, STS-133/ISS-ULF-5 (Permanent Logistics Module); 0 EVAs