Editor’s note: The seventh paragraph was updated to reflect the accurate reasoning for why NASA recognizes Nick Hague as a flown astronaut. Because Hague and Ovchinin launched and landed in a spacecraft on an intended mission to the International Space Station, NASA considers them to have achieved the status of flown astronauts, making this Hague’s second spaceflight and Ovchinin’s third.
NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Hammock Koch will discuss their upcoming mission to the International Space Station in a news conference at 3 p.m. EST Wednesday, Dec. 12, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The news conference will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency’s website. Hague will be available for in person and remote media interviews afterward.
Hague, Koch, and their crewmate Alexey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, are scheduled to launch Feb. 28, 2019, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the space station aboard the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft, commanded by Ovchinin.
To request credentials to participate in person or to reserve an interview opportunity, U.S. reporters must contact Johnson’s newsroom at 281-483-5111 by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11. Reporters who wish to participate in the news conference by telephone must call Johnson’s newsroom no later than 2:45 p.m. Dec. 12. Those following the briefing on social media may ask questions using #askNASA.
Hague, Koch, and Ovchinin will join Anne McClain of NASA, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, and Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos for Expedition 59, returning the orbital laboratory to a full complement of six crew members. McClain, Saint-Jacques and Kononenko will have been living and working on the station as a crew of three for about two months. Hague and Koch will serve as flight engineers for Expeditions 59 and 60. Ovchinin will serve as a flight engineer on Expedition 59 and commander of Expedition 60. The trio will return to Earth in October.
During the planned six-month mission, the station crew will take part in about 250 research investigations and technology demonstrations not possible on Earth to advance scientific knowledge of Earth, space, physical, and biological sciences. Science conducted on the space station continues to yield benefits for humanity and will enable future long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space. The crew is also scheduled to be aboard during test flights of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which will resume human spaceflight launches from U.S. soil.
Hague and Soyuz commander Ovchinin returned to Earth safely after their mission was aborted Oct. 11. The booster malfunctioned during ascent, but the spacecraft’s abort system worked as designed and pulled the crew away safely, resulting in a landing in Kazakhstan.
This will be Koch’s first spaceflight. Because Hague and Ovchinin launched and landed in a spacecraft on an intended mission to the International Space Station, NASA considers them to have achieved the status of flown astronauts, making this Hague’s second spaceflight and Ovchinin’s third.
Hague is a native of Hoxie, Kansas, and a colonel in the U.S. Air Force. Prior to his selection, he was part of the Air Force Fellows program in Washington, where he worked as an adviser to the U.S. Senate on matters of national defense and foreign policy. He earned a bachelor’s degree in astronautical engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a master’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. NASA selected him as an astronaut in 2013.
Koch, who grew up in Jacksonville, North Carolina, earned bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and physics and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Her career includes experience as an electrical engineer, focusing on space science instrument design, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab, in Laurel, Maryland. She also worked as a research associate with the U.S. Antarctic Program, completing several deployments, including a winter at the South Pole. Her work at remote scientific research stations went on to include sessions as a field engineer in the Arctic and as station chief with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in American Samoa. NASA also selected her as an astronaut in 2013.
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Johnson Space Center, Houston