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October 8, 2004

Nicole Cloutier-Lemasters
Johnson Space Center, Houston
281/483-5111



NOTE TO EDITORS: #J04-044

NASA'S NEW ASTRONAUTS GET WEIGHTLESS

Fresh from flight training in Houston and their first head-over-heels sample of weightlessness, NASA's astronaut candidates are available to meet with the media at 2 p.m. CDT, Thursday, Oct. 14 at Ellington Field.

To attend the event, or to arrange phone interviews, contact the newsroom at the Johnson Space Center by close of business Wednesday, Oct. 13. Video and still imagery is available of the new astronauts' flight training, including their first experience aboard NASA's “Weightless Wonder” aircraft.

The new astronaut candidate class is wrapping up several weeks of flight training in T-38 training jets, which are aircraft used by astronauts to maintain their aviation proficiency. As part of the training, they also fly aboard the specially modified KC-135 aircraft for an introduction to the zero gravity environment of spaceflight. Each of that aircraft’s parabolic maneuvers produces about 20 seconds of weightless freefall, providing the new astronauts a taste of maneuvering in reduced gravity and a chance to try a few requisite somersaults.

The class, based at JSC, has spent the last month settling in and completing flight checkouts. The candidates are now qualified in the T-38 jets as either crewmembers or pilots. In the future, they will maintain a schedule of regular proficiency flights.

Video of the training will air on the NASA Television’s Video File beginning at 11 a.m. CDT Oct. 14. NASA Television is available in the continental U.S. on AMC-6, Transponder 9C, C-Band, located at 72 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. In Alaska and Hawaii, NASA Television is available on AMC-7, Transponder 18C, C-Band, located at 137 degrees west longitude. Frequency is 4060.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz.

The class includes three educator astronauts who were selected from 1,600 teachers across the country. It also includes three military pilots, a Navy SEAL, an astrophysicist, two physicians, and an engineer. One of the class members is also a Houston native. Also training with the 11-member astronaut candidate class are three Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronauts. The new astronauts are: --Pilot Randy Bresnik, born in Fort Knox, Ky. --Pilot Jim Dutton, of Eugene, Ore. --Mission Specialist Shane Kimbrough, from Atlanta --Educator Mission Specialist Joe Acaba, from Dunnellon, Fla. --Educator Mission Specialist Ricky Arnold, of Bowie, Md. --Mission Specialist Chris Cassidy, from York, Maine --Mission Specialist Jose Hernandez, who grew up in Stockton, Calif. --Mission Specialist Tom Marshburn, of Atlanta --Educator Mission Specialist Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, of Vancouver, Wash. --Mission Specialist Bobby Satcher, who grew up in Hampton, Va. --Mission Specialist Shannon Walker, a Houston native --JAXA Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, a medical doctor from Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan --JAXA Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, an engineer from Tokyo --JAXA Astronaut Naoko Yamazaki, an engineer born in Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Full biographies of the astronaut candidates are available at:

http://www.nasa.gov/vision/space/preparingtravel/ascan2004.html

More information on the Japanese astronauts is available at: http://iss.sfo.jaxa.jp/astro/profile_e.html

For still images of the astronauts’ flight training in Houston available Oct. 14, visit: http://www.spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/behindthescenes/training/ascan2004/ndxpage1.html

For more on NASA, visit: http://www.nasa.gov



 

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