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NASA Briefing For Expedition 19 Mission

March 8, 2009

NASA officials will hold a media briefing at 1 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, March 11, to discuss the 19th long-duration mission aboard the International Space Station. The Expedition 19 mission will set the stage for the doubling of station crew members who will live and work in space for as long as six months at a time.

The briefing will originate from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and will be broadcast live on NASA Television. Questions will be taken from reporters at participating NASA sites.

The participants are:

  • Kirk Shireman, International Space Station deputy program manager
  • Courtenay McMillian, Expedition 19/20 lead flight director
  • Ben Pawlik, Expedition 19/20 increment manager
  • Julie Robinson, International Space Station Program scientist

Expedition 19 begins on March 26 when Commander Gennady Padalka of Russia and NASA Flight Engineer Mike Barratt launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-14 vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They will replace Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke and Flight Engineer Yury Lonchakov, who will return to Earth April 7. Padalka and Barratt’s other crewmate is Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, who will travel to the station on space shuttle Discovery, targeted for launch March 11.

Padalka, Barratt and Wakata will continue science investigations and prepare for the arrival of the rest of the station’s first six-person crew. Roman Romanenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Frank De Winne of the European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Bob Thirsk will launch from Baikonur on May 27, arriving at the station on May 29.

Once all the astronauts are aboard, Expedition 20 begins, ushering in an era of six-person station crews. This also will be the first time the crew members represent all five International Space Station partners.

Padalka and Barratt will conduct a pair of spacewalks in June to prepare the station for the addition of a new Russian docking module. The Expedition 20 crew will host the arrival of a Russian Progress resupply vehicle, two space shuttles and the maiden voyage of a new cargo ship, the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle, or HTV-1.

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