December 8, 2008

NASA names space shuttle mission crews

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration has identified the crews assigned to space shuttle missions STS-130 and STS-131.

NASA said the STS-130 mission -- to be launched during December 2009 -- will deliver a third connecting module to the International Space Station and a seven-windowed cupola to be used as a control room for robotics. The STS-131 mission -- targeted for a February 2010 liftoff -- will deliver research and science experiment equipment to the ISS, including a new sleeping area and supplies.

Marine Col. George Zamka will command the shuttle Endeavour's STS-130 mission and Air Force Col. Terry Virts Jr. will serve as pilot. Astronauts assigned to the mission are Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Behnken, Nicholas Patrick, Kathryn Hire and Stephen Robinson. Virts will be making his first trip to space.

NASA said Navy Capt. Alan Poindexter will command space shuttle Atlantis during STS-131, with Air Force Lt. Col. James P. Dutton Jr. serving as pilot. Astronauts assigned to that mission are Rick Mastracchio, Clayton Anderson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Naoko Yamazaki. Dutton, Metcalf-Lindenburger and Yamazaki will be making their first trip to space.

Astronaut biographical information is available at