August 10, 2009

Two California Astronauts to Fly on Next Space Shuttle Mission

NASA's next space shuttle mission will carry two California- born astronauts into orbit.

Veteran space flier Rick Sturckow, from Lakeside, Calif., will command shuttle Discovery's mission to the International Space Station. Jose Hernandez, who considers Stockton, Calif., his hometown, will make his first trip to space.

Discovery, with its crew of seven astronauts, is targeted to launch at 1:36 a.m. EDT Aug. 25 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. To cover the launch on-site, U.S. reporters must request Kennedy credentials online at:

The 13-day flight 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 named the node Tranquility.

Sturckow graduated from Grossmont High School in La Mesa, Calif. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., in 1984. Hernandez earned his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., in 1984, and a Master of Science degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California-Santa Barbara in 1986.

Hernandez is providing insights about his mission preparation on Twitter in English and Spanish. His Twitter account is astro_jose, and he can be followed at:

For Hernandez's complete biography, visit:

For Sturckow's complete biography, visit:

For the latest information about the STS-128 mission and crew, visit: