May 2, 2009

NASA To Preview Start Of Six-Person Crew On Space Station

NASA will discuss the inauguration of six-person crew operations aboard the International Space Station in a briefing scheduled for 1 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 6, at the Johnson Space Center.

The briefing will be broadcast live on NASA Television. Reporters may ask questions from participating NASA sites. International news media from Canada and Europe may ask questions from their respective agencies' headquarters.

On May 27, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Bob Thirsk will launch on a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They will arrive at the station on May 29 to join the station's Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Mike Barratt and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The six men will form the Expedition 20 crew, the station's first six-person crew. This mission also will be the first time crew members are aboard representing all five International Space Station partners.

In September, Expedition 20 will welcome the arrival of a new cargo craft, Japan's H-II Transfer Vehicle. Additional environmental support equipment, exercise hardware and scientific racks will join the expanded crew in the months ahead.

The participants for the May 6 briefing are:

Dan Hartman, manager of Integration and Operations, ISS Program

Ben Pawlik, Expedition 20 increment manager

Courtenay McMillan, Expedition 20 lead flight director

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For more information about the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station