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Barbara Schwartz March 9, 1993

RELEASE NO. 93-017

BACKUP CREW MEMBER FOR STS-61, HST MAINTENANCE MISSION

Astronaut Gregory J. Harbaugh is assigned as backup extravehicular activity (EVA, or spacewalking) crew member for STS-61, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) maintenance mission.

In making the announcement, David C. Leestma, director of Flight Crew Operations, noted "this assignment recognizes the importance of the EVA operations to the success of the mission and provides for some insurance in the event of the unavailability late in the training cycle of any of the four prime EVA crew members. Although we don't expect Greg to get a chance to fly, he will be prepared to substitute if necessary."

Harbaugh, a two-flight veteran, performed a spacewalk in January 1993 as part of the STS-54 mission. Spacewalks have been added to several Space Shuttle missions this year to develop a broader experience base within the Space Shuttle Program and to develop skills and techniques for future space projects, including Space Station and the Hubble maintenance mission.

Harbaugh has been involved in the HST EVA development activities which have occurred over the past several years both at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He will participate in HST training at both the JSC Weightless Environment Training Facility and at the MSFC Neutral Buoyancy Simulator.

Although backup crew members are not normally assigned for Space Shuttle missions, the complexity and importance of the HST maintenance mission have made it prudent in this case.

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