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May 9, 2000

Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington DC
(Phone: 202/358-1726)

Doug Peterson
Johnson Space Center, Houston TX
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Release: H00-78

Flight Crew Named for Future Space Station Mission

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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