May 9, 2000
Headquarters, Washington DC
Johnson Space Center, Houston TX
Veteran astronaut James D. Wetherbee (Capt., USN) will command the eighth Space Shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station on a flight in 2001 to rotate space station crews and continue space station assembly.
Joining Wetherbee on the flight deck for STS-102 aboard Discovery will be Pilot James M. Kelly (Lt. Col., USAF). Rounding out the crew are Mission Specialists Andy Thomas, Ph.D., Paul Richards, and previously assigned space station Expedition 2 crew members, Yuri V. Usachev, James S. Voss (Col., USA, Ret.) and Susan J. Helms (Col., USAF).
The major objectives of the mission are to replace the space station Expedition 1 crew members Bill Shepherd, Yuri Gidzenko, and Sergei Krikalev with the Expedition 2 crew; perform two space station assembly spacewalks; and deliver equipment for the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module on the first flight of the Italian-built Leonardo logistics module.
STS-102 will be Wetherbee's fifth mission, and his fourth as commander. Selected as an astronaut in 1984, he flew as pilot on STS-32 in 1990, and as commander on STS-52 in 1992, STS-63 in 1995, and STS-86 in 1997. Thomas first flew in space on STS-77 in 1996, and then was carried to the Mir space station aboard STS-89 in 1998 and returned aboard STS-91 after 141 days in space.
Kelly and Richards, selected as astronauts in 1996, will be on their first space mission.
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