August 11, 2009

Astronaut to spend three months on the ISS

U.S. astronaut Nicole Stott is scheduled to make her first journey into orbit to spend three months aboard the International Space Station, NASA said.

She will be aboard space shuttle Discovery when it launches Aug. 25 at 1:36 a.m. EDT from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Stott, a native of Clearwater, Fla., is one of seven astronauts who will be involved in the 13-day STS-128 mission that will deliver science and storage racks, a freezer to store research samples, a new sleeping compartment and a treadmill named after comedian Stephen Colbert. The name Colbert received the most entries in NASA's online poll to name the station's Node 3. NASA, however, named the node Tranquility and the treadmill Colbert.

Once Discovery docks with the station, Stott will officially trade places with Tim Kopra, who has been aboard the ISS since July. At that point, Stott will become a member of Expedition 20 and will remain on board until the STS-129 shuttle mission arrives in November.

Discovery's STS-128 mission will be the first to include two Latino astronauts -- Danny Olivas and Jose Hernandez, who are both of Mexican descent.

The mission will be commanded by veteran astronaut Rick Sturckow and will also include pilot Kevin Ford, U.S. astronaut Patrick Forrester and European Space Agency astronaut Christer Fuglesang of Sweden.