February 18, 1997
Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
Johnson Space Center
Astronaut Catherine "Cady" Coleman (Major, USAF) has begun training as a backup Mission Specialist to Donald Thomas, Ph.D., who suffered a broken right ankle on January 29 following the conclusion of a routine training exercise.
"We are hopeful that Don will be cleared for flight," said David C. Leestma, director Flight Crew Operations. "He is an experienced astronaut with the majority of his required training for this flight already complete. The decision to assign Cady as backup was made to protect all available options."
Thomas continues to train with his crew mates to support the more than 25 microgravity science investigations that will be conducted on Columbia’s 16-day flight targeted for an April 3 launch. His training as one of two astronauts who would perform any required contingency EVA was complete before the injury occurred.
"Cady’s previous Shuttle experience makes the amount of training required to bring her up to speed minimal," Leestma said. Coleman, 36, has begun refresher EVA training and familiarization with the science investigations to be conducted on STS-83.
The STS-83 crew consists of Commander Jim Halsell (Lt. Colonel, USAF), Pilot Susan Still (Lieutenant, USN), Payload Commander Janice Voss, Mission Specialist Mike Gernhardt, and Payload Specialists Roger Crouch and Gregory Linteris.
For complete biographical information on the STS-83 crew, or any astronaut, see the NASA Internet biography home page at URL: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/
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