Archive - Mar 5, 2009
The International Space Station Program has announced a change in how two future crew members will return home. NASA astronaut Nicole Stott and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert Thirsk will swap seats on the space shuttle and Russian Soyuz spacecraft to help ensure a timely homecoming for Thirsk.
Thirsk will launch to the station on a Soyuz in May and return to Earth on that same vehicle in November, instead of aboard space shuttle Atlantis at the end of the STS-129 mission. Stott, who will launch to the station on shuttle Discovery's STS-128 mission, will return aboard Atlantis with the STS-129 crew. She had been slated to come home aboard the Soyuz that Thirsk now will occupy.
NASA will hold a news conference Friday, March 6, following a review of space shuttle Discovery's readiness for flight and an assessment of shuttle flow control valve testing and inspection. The news conference will begin no earlier than 2:30 p.m. EST at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The flight readiness review meeting is expected to set an official launch date for the STS-119 mission to the International Space Station. For planning purposes, liftoff now is tentatively targeted for March 11 at 9:20 p.m. EDT.
The Space Shuttle Program moved the targeted launch a day earlier following extensive review of flow control valve inspection data and assessment of ongoing and planned work. A formal presentation of the flow control work and a thorough evaluation of all aspects of flight will be made at Friday's readiness review.
On another thread someone mentioned it would be nice to know the work schedules of the ISS crew.