NASA Names Next Space Station Crew

NASA Names Next Space Station Crew
NASA astronaut Bill McArthur. (Image credit: NASA.)

NASA plans to return theInternational Space Station crew to its original size of three on the secondpost-Columbia shuttle mission.

NASA and its internationalpartners have named the station's 12th crew.

American astronaut BillMcArthur and Russia's Valery Tokarev will fly to the station on a Soyuz rocketin the fall. McArthur, who lived on the station once before, will be thestation's commander.

Thomas Reiter, a EuropeanSpace Agency astronaut, will be part of their crew too. He will arrive aboardthe shuttle Atlantis on the second shuttle mission since the 2003 disaster.

That mission is scheduledfor September, so Reiter's six-month stay could overlap the changeover from onecrew to the next.

NASA said Reiter'sassignment is part of a deal between the Russians and Europeans.

The station's crew was cutfrom three members to two after the shuttle disaster, because the absence ofthe shuttles severely limited supplies, including food, water and breathing air.

Reiter's crewmates on thesecond shuttle mission include commander Steve Lindsey, pilot Mark Kelly andmission specialists Piers Sellers, Mike Fossum, Lisa Nowak and StephanieWilson.

Reiter will return to Earthon a later shuttle or Soyuz flight.

Launch delayed again

A Kennedy Space Center launch team will wait until at least Thursday to get a new weather satellite offthe ground from California.

NASA rescheduled the launchfor Thursday after a connector hose came loose during the countdown toSaturday's liftoff of a Boeing Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The launch window for theNOAA-N weather satellite opens at 6:22 a.m. Eastern time and extends for 10minutes. The satellite will be used for forecasting and climate research

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John Kelly is the director of data journalism for ABC-owned TV stations at Walt Disney Television. An investigative reporter and data journalist, John covered space exploration, NASA and aerospace as a reporter for Florida Today for 11 years, four of those on the Space Reporter beat. John earned a journalism degree from the University of Kentucky and wrote for the Shelbyville News and Associated Press before joining Florida Today's space team. In 2013, John joined the data investigation team at USA Today and became director of data journalism there in 2018 before joining Disney in 2019. John is a two-time winner of the Edward R. Murrow award in 2020 and 2021, won a Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting in 2020 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting in 2017. You can follow John on Twitter.