STS-118 -- Mission to the International Space Station
Seven astronauts made up the STS-118 space shuttle crew. They are Scott Kelly, Charlie Hobaugh, Dave Williams, Barbara Morgan, Rick Mastracchio, Tracy Caldwell and Alvin Drew Jr. The commander of the mission was Scott Kelly. Hobaugh was the pilot. Mastracchio, Morgan, Caldwell, Williams and Drew were all mission specialists.
The STS-118 space shuttle mission patch has a gray shape of the International Space Station. The star at the top of the gold astronaut symbol sits on the part of the ISS that was added during the mission. The space shuttle on the patch has flown around the symbol, leaving a trail that looks like an American flag. NASA's first Educator Astronaut flew on this mission. The flame of knowledge shows the importance of education and honors all teachers and students. A red maple leaf sits next to Williams' name. He is from Canada. The red maple leaf is part of Canada's flag.
The STS-118 space shuttle crew had a lot to do before it flew. The crewmembers picked the foods they would eat while in space. Some of them trained in the motion-based simulator at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This simulator helps astronauts practice flying the shuttle. It moves and makes noises to help the astronauts know what flying on the shuttle is like.
The crewmembers learned how to use parachutes in case they had an emergency and had to get out of the shuttle quickly. All of the crew worked in the training version of the shuttle launch and entry suit. NASA astronauts use this suit because the bright orange color is easy to see if the astronauts have to make a water landing. The crew also learned how to use a one-person life raft during training at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory near NASA's Johnson Space Center. This kind of raft would only be used in case of an emergency shuttle landing in water.
The STS-118 space shuttle mission was a special one for teachers. Mission specialist Barbara Morgan is a teacher and a fully trained astronaut. Educator Astronauts share the excitement of space exploration with students. As part of this mission, students can design and build plant growth chambers that could be used on the moon. Morgan and her crewmates took two plant growth chambers and 10 million basil seeds on the STS-118 space shuttle mission. Teachers can use the plant growth chambers built by their students to grow these seeds.
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