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Ed Campion October 14, 1995

NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Phone: (202/358-1780)

Debbie Rahn

NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Phone: (202/385-1638)

Kyle Herring

Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX

Phone: (713/483-5111)

Release: 95-062


Astronaut Scott Parazynski, who has been training as backup to Jerry M. Linenger for a four month stay on Russia's Mir Space Station, will discontinue his training due to concerns over his ability to safely fit in a Soyuz descent vehicle for landing. Parazynski also was scheduled for a later mission aboard Mir.

At the time Parazynski was assigned, both NASA and the Russian Space Agency understood he was slightly outside the nominal height to fly on the Soyuz capsule that could be used as a contingency vehicle for returning the Mir crew to Earth. Even though a preliminary evaluation cleared him for training, it was shown during a recent detailed discussion between U.S. and Russian experts on deceleration loads and sitting height issues, that the safety margins against injury would be unacceptably reduced.

"At the time Scott was assigned, we understood there were modifications that could be made that would allow him to use the descent vehicle if that became necessary," said Frank Culbertson, Acting Director, Phase I (Shuttle-Mir) Program. "After discussing all our options and reviewing the available data with the Russians, it is clear that they do not have the latitude or sufficient modification capability on the Soyuz to allow Scott to return to Earth in the vehicle with a level of risk we would be comfortable with. Our Russian colleagues share our disappointment in this situation since Scott has achieved such a high level of performance and respect in the Russian system."



After a review of the data, NASA and the RSA made a joint decision to discontinue Parazynski's training. Parazynski has returned to the U.S.

"Based on the new parameters recently provided concerning the Soyuz capsule, we will be reviewing all crew members currently assigned for training in Russia," Culbertson said.

Another astronaut will soon be nominated to replace Parazynski as Linenger's backup.

Parazynski, 34, was a member of Atlantis' STS-66 crew which flew in November 1994. He completed medical school at Stanford University in 1989 and served his medical internship at the Brigham and Women's Hospital of Harvard Medical School in 1990.



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