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August 4, 1998

Jennifer McCarter
Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-1639)

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

Release: H98-143

Crews Named to Support 1999 Shuttle Flights

Thirteen astronauts have been named to support upcoming Shuttle missions, STS-96, -97 and -98, slated for launch next year and dedicated to continuing the on-orbit construction of the International Space Station.

Three-time Shuttle astronaut Kent V. Rominger (Cmdr., USN) will lead the crew of STS-96, a logistics and resupply mission for the International Space Station targeting a mid-May 1999 launch. Rick D. Husband (Lt. Col., USAF) will join Rominger on the flight deck of Discovery as pilot. Mission Specialists for the planned 10-day flight are Ellen Ochoa, Ph.D.; Tamara E. Jernigan, Ph.D.; Daniel T. Barry, M.D., Ph.D.; Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette; and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko (Col., Russian Air Force).

STS-96 will follow the launch of the Zarya control module on a Russian vehicle in November 1998; the STS-88 mission in December 1998, delivering the American-built Unity module and two docking adapters; and the arrival of the Russian Service Module in April 1999. The STS-96 crew will be the first crew to visit the station following the arrival of the Service Module. During STS-96, Discovery will carry a variety of logistical and resupply items to ready the International Space Station for the arrival of the first resident crew in July 1999. The Shuttle will spend seven days docked to the uninhabited station, and Jernigan and Barry will conduct at least one spacewalk for assembly work.

Brent W. Jett Jr. (Cmdr., USN) will command the crew of Endeavour for STS-97 in

August 1999, continuing construction of the International Space Station. He will be joined on board by pilot Michael J. Bloomfield (Major, USAF) and mission specialist Marc Garneau of the Canadian Space Agency. Astronauts Joseph R. Tanner and Carlos I. Noriega (Major, USMC) were named to the mission in June 1997, and will conduct two planned space walks.

The fourth American mission to build and enhance the capabilities of the International Space Station, STS-97 will deliver the first set of U.S.-provided solar arrays and batteries as well as radiators to provide cooling. The Shuttle will spend five days docked to the station, which at that time will be staffed by the first station crew. Two spacewalks will be conducted to complete assembly operations while the arrays are attached and unfurled. A communications system for voice and telemetry also will be installed.

In October 1999, Discovery will continue expansion of the International Space Station when astronaut Kenneth D. Cockrell commands STS-98. Cockrell will be joined by pilot Mark L. Polansky, a member of the 1996 astronaut class and mission specialist Marsha Ivins. Astronauts Mark C. Lee (Col., USAF) and Thomas D. Jones, Ph.D., previously named to the mission, are in training to support three planned space walks.

STS-98 will mark the arrival of the U.S. laboratory module, which will become the centerpiece of scientific research on the station. The Shuttle will spend six days docked to the station while the laboratory is attached and three spacewalks are conducted to complete its assembly. The laboratory will be launched with five equipment racks aboard, which will provide essential functions for station systems, including high data-rate communications and maintaining the station's orientation using control gyroscopes launched earlier. Additional equipment and research racks will be installed in the laboratory on subsequent Shuttle flights. This mission also will occur while the first station crew is aboard the new spacecraft.

Of the astronauts assigned to these flights, all but three have previous space flight experience. Cockrell has commanded a Shuttle mission previously. While they will be making their first flights as commanders, both Rominger and Jett have experience as Shuttle pilots in their earlier assignments. Mission specialists Jernigan, Ivins and Lee all have four previous missions to their credit; Jones has three; Ochoa, Garneau and Tanner have flown twice previously; and Barry, Bloomfield and Noriega have flown onboard the Shuttle once. Making their first flights will be Husband, Payette and Polansky.

For additional information on these astronauts, or any astronaut, see the NASA Internet biography home page at URL:

For additional information on the International Space Station, visit the space station home page at URL:


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