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NASA Sets Crew for 2008 Shuttle Mission

NASA hasassigned the space shuttle crew for Endeavour's STS-126 mission, targeted forlaunch in September 2008. The mission will deliver vital equipment that willallow larger crews to live aboard the International Space Station.

Endeavourwill carry up a reusable cargo module packed with fresh supplies and equipment,including additional crew quarters, a second treadmill, equipment for the station'sregenerative life support system and spare hardware for the orbital laboratory.

U.S. Navy Capt. Christopher Ferguson, a nativeof Philadelphia, Pa., will command Endeavour's STS-126 flight. A veteranastronaut who joined NASA's ranks in 1998, Ferguson served as shuttle pilot forNASA's STS-115 flight aboard Atlantis in September2006. His pilot on STS-126 will be U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Boe, afirst-time spaceflyer who joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2000.

Endeavour'sSTS-126 mission specialists are Navy Cmdr. Stephen Bowen, NASA astronaut Joan Higginbotham,Army Lt. Col. Robert Kimbrough and Navy Capt. Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper. Inaddition to Boe, Bowen and Kimbrough will be making their first spaceflight.Bowen was previously named to NASA's earlier STS-124 crew but has beenreassigned to STS-126. The change will allow room for the STS-124 mission torotate a space station resident, who will be named later, NASA said.

STS-126will be the second spaceflight for Ferguson and Stefanyshyn-Piper, who flewtogether on STS-115 in September 2006 ? Stefanyshyn-Piper conducted twospacewalks during the earlier mission. This is also the second flight forHigginbotham, who flew on STS-116 in December2006.

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Jeremy Hsu is science writer based in New York City whose work has appeared in Scientific American, Discovery Magazine, Backchannel, Wired.com and IEEE Spectrum, among others. He joined the Space.com and Live Science teams in 2010 as a Senior Writer and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Indicate Media.  Jeremy studied history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania, and earned a master's degree in journalism from the NYU Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. You can find Jeremy's latest project on Twitter (opens in new tab)