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Katherine Trinidad
Headquarters, Washington

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston

Oct. 24, 2006
Alaska Native to Discuss Role as Pilot of NASA's Next Shuttle
Alaska native and former float plane pilot Bill Oefelein, who will serve as pilot of the Space Shuttle Discovery in December, will be available for interviews by satellite from 5:30 to 7 p.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 27.

To participate, media should contact the NASA Johnson Space Center newsroom in Houston at 281-483-5111 by 5 p.m. EDT, Thursday, Oct. 26.

Oefelein, a U.S. Navy commander, considers Anchorage, Alaska, his hometown. He credits his youth in Alaska with helping foster his interest in flying. While there, he obtained a private pilot's license with a float plane rating. He went on to become a Navy fighter and test pilot. Oefelein has logged more than 3,000 hours in 50 different types of aircraft.

Oefelein received a bachelor’s from Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore., and a master’s from the University of Tennessee Space Institute, Knoxville, Tenn.

He will be making his first spaceflight on Discovery on STS-116, an 11-day mission to the International Space Station. The mission will rearrange the complex's power and cooling systems to bring online electricity generated by new solar arrays delivered to the station in September.

Along with Oefelein, Discovery's crew includes STS-116 Commander Mark Polansky and mission specialists Bob Curbeam, Joan Higginbotham, Nick Patrick, Suni Williams and Christer Fuglesang, a European Space Agency astronaut. Williams will remain aboard the station for six months. European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter, currently aboard the station, will return to Earth on Discovery.

For Oefelein's biographical information, visit:

The interviews and b-roll of Oefelein's training will be broadcast on the NASA-TV Media Channel (No. 103). In the continental U.S., NASA TV is carried on an MPEG-2 digital signal accessed via satellite AMC-6, at 72 degrees west longitude, transponder 17C, 4040 MHz, vertical polarization. In Alaska and Hawaii, NASA TV is carried on an MPEG-2 digital signal accessed via satellite AMC-7, at 137 degrees west longitude, transponder 18C, 4060 MHz, vertical polarization.

The video footage of training will air at 5 p.m. EDT on Oct. 27. For NASA TV downlink, schedules and streaming video information, visit:

For more information about STS-116 and its crew, visit:

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