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NASA Assigns Astronaut Crews For Future Space Shuttle Missions

December 5, 2008

NASA has assigned the crews for space shuttle missions STS-130 and STS-131. The STS-130 mission 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 will deliver research and science experiment equipment, a new sleeping area and supplies to the station in a logistics module carried in the shuttle’s payload bay.

Marine Col. George Zamka will command the shuttle Endeavour during STS-130, targeted for launch in December 2009. Air Force Col. Terry Virts, Jr., will serve as the pilot. Mission specialists are NASA astronauts Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Behnken, Nicholas Patrick, Kathryn Hire and Stephen Robinson. Virts will be making his first trip to space.

Navy Capt. Alan Poindexter will command the shuttle Atlantis during STS-131, targeted for launch in February 2010. Air Force Lt. Col. James P. Dutton, Jr., will serve as the pilot. Mission specialists are NASA astronauts 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.

Zamka was born in Jersey City, N.J., and grew up in several cities including Medellin, Colombia. He received a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and a master’s degree in engineering management from the Florida Institute of Technology. He served as the pilot on STS-120.

Virts was born in Baltimore and considers Columbia, Md., his hometown. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a master’s degree in aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Behnken recently flew as a mission specialist on STS-123. Behnken holds bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and physics from Washington University in St. Louis. He also has master’s and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. Behnken was born in Creve Coeur, Mo.

STS-130 will be the second flight for Nicholas Patrick, who flew as a mission specialist on STS-116. Patrick was born in North Yorkshire in the United Kingdom and considers London and Rye, N.Y., his hometowns. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from the University of Cambridge and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Hire will again serve as a mission specialist on her second spaceflight. Her first was STS-90. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and a master’s degree in space technology from the Florida Institute of Technology. She was born in Mobile, Ala.

Stephen Robinson is a veteran of three spaceflights. Flying on STS-85, STS-95 and STS-114, he has logged more than 830 hours in space. He was born in Sacramento, Calif., and holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical and aeronautical engineering from the University of California and master’s and doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.

STS-131 will be the second spaceflight for Poindexter, who served as the pilot on STS-122. He graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering. He also has a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He was born in Pasadena, Calif.

Dutton joined NASA in 2004. His hometown is Eugene, Ore. He has a bachelor’s degree in astronautical engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Mastracchio flew as a mission specialist on STS-106 and STS-118. He was born in Waterbury, Conn., and earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of Connecticut. He also has master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and physical science from the University of Houston.

Anderson spent 152 days on the space station, as a flight engineer on Expedition 15. He launched to the station as part of the STS-117 crew and returned on the STS-120 mission. Anderson’s hometown is Omaha, Neb. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Hastings College, Neb., and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University.

Metcalf-Lindenburger was selected as an astronaut in 2004. She was born in Colorado Springs, Colo., and considers Fort Collins her hometown. She has a bachelor’s degree in geology from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash.

Wilson was born in Boston. This will be her third spaceflight. She flew as a mission specialist on STS-121 and STS-120. Wilson received a bachelor’s degree in engineering science from Harvard University and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas.

Yamazaki was born in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. She holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Tokyo. Yamazaki was selected by National Space Development Agency of Japan (currently JAXA) as one of three astronaut candidates in 1999 and joined NASA’s astronaut candidates for training in 2004.

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