Feature

STS-116 -- Mission Patch Explorer Game
12.01.06
 
The STS-116 mission patch includes the names of the crew around artwork featuring the shuttle, U.S. and Swedish flags, space station, Big Dipper and Earth


Read below to learn more about the STS-116 mission patch.
 
A close-up view of the space shuttle orbiter on the STS-116 mission patch
Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle Discovery will take the STS-116 crew to the International Space Station. The 12A.1 refers to the mission's order in the sequence of U.S. station assembly flights. This mission will deliver a fourth port truss segment, P5. The truss is like a support beam or girder for the station. The P5 segment will connect to the P3 and P4 trusses, which STS-115 delivered in September 2006.
 
A close-up view of the U.S. and Swedish flags on the STS-116 mission patch
U.S. and Swedish Flags

The flags represent the nationalities of the crewmembers on the STS-116 space shuttle mission.

Six of the crewmembers are U.S. citizens.

One crewmember, Christer Fuglesang, is from Sweden.
 
A close-up view of the Big Dipper constellation and the North Star on the STS-116 mission patch
Big Dipper and North Star

The seven stars of the constellation Ursa Major, which form the Big Dipper, point toward the North Star.

The North Star is on top of the spot where the P5 truss will be installed on the International Space Station. The truss is like a support beam or girder for the station.
 
A close-up view of the International Space Station on the STS-116 mission patch
ISS: International Space Station

The space shuttle must make 14 more assembly flights, including this mission, to complete the International Space Station. The ISS has been running on a temporary electrical system since 1998, when the station went into orbit.

The previous assembly flight installed two solar array panels that generate electricity. The STS-116 crew will connect a new electrical system to those solar panels.
 
A close-up view of the name Polansky on the STS-116 mission patch and a photo of Mark Polansky
Polansky

Mark Polansky is the commander of the STS-116 space shuttle mission. He joined NASA in 1992 as an aerospace engineer. Polansky was selected as an astronaut in 1996. He was the pilot for the STS-98 space shuttle mission in 2001.

During the STS-116 mission, Polansky and his crew will rewire the space station. The rewiring will almost double the electrical power available on the station.
 
A close-up view of the name Oefelein on the STS-116 mission patch and a photo of William Oefelein
Oefelein

Bill Oefelein is the pilot for the STS-116 space shuttle mission. He has logged over 3,000 hours in more than 50 aircraft. He became an astronaut in 1998. This flight on Space Shuttle Discovery is his first mission into space.
 
A close-up view of the name Patrick on the STS-116 mission patch and a photo of Nicholas Patrick
Patrick

Nicholas Patrick is a mission specialist. He was born in the United Kingdom. He became a U.S. citizen in 1994 and began astronaut training in 1998. He has a doctorate in mechanical engineering. STS-116 is his first mission into space.
 
A close-up view of the name Higginbotham on the STS-116 mission patch and a photo of Joan Higginbotham
Higginbotham

Joan Higginbotham is a mission specialist. She began work at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in 1987 as an electrical engineer. While at KSC, she supported 53 space shuttle launches as a part of her job. In 1996, she applied and was selected as an astronaut. On STS-116, she will operate the Space Station Remote Manipulator System, which is also known as the Canadarm2. STS-116 is her first shuttle mission.
 
A close-up view of the name Fuglesang on the STS-116 mission patch and a photo of Christer Fuglesang
Fuglesang

Christer Fuglesang is a mission specialist from the European Space Agency, or ESA. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Fuglesang was selected to the ESA Astronaut Corps in 1992. He came to NASA in 1996 for mission specialist training. During the 12-day STS-116 space shuttle mission, he will perform two spacewalks. This mission is Fuglesang's first flight into space.
 
A close-up view of the name Curbeam on the STS-116 mission patch and a photo of Robert Curbeam
Curbeam

Bob Curbeam is a mission specialist. NASA selected Curbeam for astronaut training in 1994. He has flown on two shuttle missions: STS-85 in 1997 and STS-98 in 2001. On these missions, Curbeam spent a total of 593 hours in space, including 19 hours on three spacewalks. He will also perform three spacewalks during STS-116 mission.





 
A close-up view of the name Williams on the STS-116 mission patch and a photo of Sunita Williams
Williams

Sunita Williams became an astronaut in 1998. The STS-116 space shuttle mission is her first flight into space. She will work with the robotic arms on the shuttle and the International Space Station. She will also perform a spacewalk.

When the space shuttle leaves the ISS, Williams will remain as a member of the Expedition 14 crew. She will stay on the station and become a member of Expedition 15 when that crew arrives on a Soyuz spacecraft in March 2007. When the other two members of Expedition 14 depart on the Soyuz, she will be the only U.S. citizen on the space station.
 
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