Astronauts Announced for STS-121

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NASA has announced four astronauts who will launch on the space shuttle for mission STS-121; the mission after the shuttle returns to flight in late 2004. STS-121 was added to the schedule to help take over some of the tasks that were originally required on the Return to Flight mission. Commander Steven W. Lindsey, pilot Mark E. Kelly and mission specialists Carlos I. Noriega and Michael E. Fossum will be joined by three more unnamed crew members. They will re-supply the International Space Station and continue testing new hardware developed as part of the return to flight process.

Four NASA astronauts have been chosen to fly on the newly created Space Shuttle mission, STS-121. It is the mission following the Space Shuttle’s Return to Flight.

Veteran astronaut Steven W. Lindsey (Col., USAF) is the commander of STS-121. Mark E. Kelly (Cmdr., USN) is the pilot; Carlos I. Noriega (Lt. Col., USMC, Ret.) and Michael E. Fossum are the mission specialists. Other crewmembers will be named later.

STS-121 was added to the flight schedule to help accommodate the growing list of requirements originally assigned to the Return to Flight mission. The crew will re-supply the International Space Station with equipment and consumables. They will also continue the testing and development of new hardware and procedures designed to make Space Shuttle flight safer.

The crew recently began their pre-mission training together at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston. Initial activities focus on general procedural training on Shuttle and Station systems, preliminary spacewalk development and robotics training.

Lindsey is a three-time Shuttle astronaut, including commanding the STS-104 mission in 2001. Kelly has flown in space once, and Noriega twice. Fossum is making his first trip.

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Original Source: NASA News Release