Three New Astronauts Added For Next Shuttle Mission

Image credit: NASA

NASA announced that three additional astronauts will fly into space aboard the space shuttle when it returns to flight some time after September 2004. STS-114 will consist of Mission Commander Eileen Collins, Pilot James Kelly, and Mission Specialists Stephen Robinson, Soichi Noguchi, Andrew Thomas, Wendy Lawrence and Charles Camarda. The mission objectives for the flight will be to test the new safety procedures developed as part of the Columbia accident investigation including shuttle inspection and repair techniques.

The STS-114 crew, augmented by three new members, is in place for the Space Shuttle’s Return to Flight mission. Three Mission Specialists have been added to the four astronauts already in training for the STS-114 mission planned for launch no earlier than September 2004.

The new crewmembers, Andrew Thomas (Ph.D.), Wendy Lawrence (Capt., USN) and Charles Camarda (Ph.D.) join mission commander Eileen Collins (Col., USAF), Pilot James Kelly (Lt. Col., USAF), Mission Specialists Stephen Robinson (Ph.D) and Soichi Noguchi, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, who were named to this flight in 2001.

“STS-114 is going to be a complex developmental test flight, and this crew has the right set of skills and experience to help get the Space Shuttles safely flying again,” said NASA’s Associate Administrator for Space Flight William Readdy. “STS-114 was always slated to have a crew of seven. But now, instead of three crew rotating on-and-off the International Space Station, all crew members will be dedicated to the STS-114 mission objectives,” Readdy said.

The major mission objectives of the STS-114 flight have shifted from International Space Station logistics and crew rotation to testing and evaluating new procedures for flight safety. This includes Shuttle inspection and repair techniques. It also includes a smaller set of Space Station tasks from what was scheduled before the Shuttle Columbia accident in February.

“This is a demanding mission and the addition of Andy, Wendy and Charlie, to this already well-qualified crew, ensures they have all the skills necessary to meet the challenge of Return to Flight and the resumption of Space Shuttle support of the International Space Station,” said Bob Cabana, Director of Flight Crew Operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

“Andy brings a wealth of experience in all areas of operations from his previous Shuttle flights and Mir space station mission. Wendy is a superb robotics operator with detailed knowledge of all the Shuttle systems. Charlie has been actively involved with the thermal protection system repair activities and has trained as a backup Space Station crewmember. He is thoroughly familiar with the systems on board the International Space Station,” Cabana said.

“When coupled with Eileen, Jim, Steve and Soichi, who were already trained to perform the assembly tasks on this mission, the full crew will have the expertise and crew time to accomplish all mission objectives,” Cabana said.

Collins served as pilot on STS-63 in 1995 and STS-84 in 1997. She flew as commander in 1999 on STS-93. Kelly piloted his first mission aboard STS-102 in 2001. Robinson was on STS-85 in 1997 and STS-95 in 1998. He served as a backup crewmember for Expedition 4. Thomas, a long-duration Russian Space Station Mir veteran, also served aboard STS-77 in 1996, STS-89 and 91 to and from the Mir in 1998, and STS-102 in 2001. Lawrence, another space veteran, brings experience from STS-67 in 1995, STS-86 in 1997, and STS-91 in 1998. Noguchi and Camarda, both selected as astronauts in 1996, will make their first flight to space on STS-114.

For biographical information about the STS-114 crew and other astronauts on the Internet, visit the NASA astronaut biography page at:
For more information about NASA’s Return to Flight efforts on the Internet, visit:

Original Source: NASA News Release