Astronaut Crew Assignments Build on Space Station Experience

by Johnson Space Center

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NASA today assigned crewmembers for several space shuttle missions to continue assembly of the International Space Station, and named the tenth station expedition crew to begin training for a long-duration stay aboard the orbiting outpost. A six-member crew for STS-117, scheduled for flight in fall 2003, will be led by first-time commander Frederick W. Sturckow, (Lt. Col., USMC). Pilot Mark L. Polansky will join Sturckow in the shuttle's cockpit, with mission specialists James F. Reilly II, Ph.D.; Richard A. Mastracchio; Joan E. Higginbotham; and Patrick G. Forrester (Col., USA) rounding out the crew.

Sturckow was pilot aboard the first space station assembly mission, STS-88 in 1998, and piloted STS-105, the eleventh mission to the station. Polansky flew previously as pilot on STS-98, a 2001 station assembly mission. Mastracchio and Forrester have each flown in space once, on STS-106 in 2000 and STS-105 in 2001, respectively. Reilly was a mission specialist on STS-89 in 1998 and STS-104 in 2001, while Higginbotham will take her first trip into space.

For STS-113, astronaut Paul S. Lockhart (Lt. Col., USAF) has been assigned as pilot, replacing astronaut Christopher J. Loria, (Lt. Col., USMC). Loria requested reassignment from the flight due to an injury sustained at home and its subsequent impact on his mission training. Lockhart recently served as pilot on STS-111, a station assembly mission in June 2002. Lockhart joins station assembly veterans commander James D. Wetherbee and mission specialist Michael E. Lopez-Alegria and first-time flyer John B. Herrington on the STS-113 mission, an expedition crew-rotation flight.

The crew for Expedition Ten aboard the International Space Station will be Leroy Chiao, Ph.D., as the ISS commander, with John L. Phillips, Ph.D., and Russian cosmonaut Salizhan S. Sharipov as flight engineers. Chiao is a veteran of three shuttle flights, STS-65 in 1994, STS-72 in 1996 and STS-92 in 2000. Phillips was a mission specialist on STS-100 in 2001. The astronauts visited the International Space Station on assembly flights, and Sharipov was a crewmember on the STS-89 mission to Mir in 1998. A backup crew for Expedition Ten will be named at a later date.

For complete biographical information on the STS-113, STS-117 and Expedition Ten crews and other active astronauts, see the NASA Internet biography page for active astronauts at:

For information about all astronauts, including those in the management, international and former astronauts categories, visit the Astronaut Biography page at: