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X Prize launch
SpaceShipOne with pilot Brian Binnie rocket into space on the second of two flights needed to win the $10 million X Prize. (2min 32sec file)
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Monday's flight
This longer length clip of SpaceShipOne's second X Prize launch following the ascent, feathering of the wings and the start of re-entry. (5min 56sec file)
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Safe landing
Brian Binnie, the world's second private astronaut, brings SpaceShipOne to a safe landing at Mojave airport to capture the X Prize. (5min 55sec file)
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Thirsk replaces Williams as NEEMO 7 commander
Posted: October 9, 2004

Veteran Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk will replace David Williams as the commander of NEEMO 7, the next "NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations" mission to the undersea laboratory Aquarius.

The change in crew assignment is a result of a temporary medical issue related to Williams' qualification for this 11- day saturation dive mission. To maintain medical privacy, no further information about Williams' condition will be made public.

As a member of the NEEMO 7 backup crew, Thirsk has trained alongside Williams for months. Thirsk joins astronauts Catherine Coleman, Michael Barratt and Canadian surgeon Dr. Craig McKinley for the mission, which will focus on remote telemedicine experiments. The mission is set for Oct. 11-21 off the coast of Florida, near Key Largo.

"This is a temporary medical issue for Dave," said Astronaut Office Chief Kent Rominger. "Because we are very cautious in our approach to crew health, we train backups for this kind of situation."

"Of course, I'm disappointed I won't splash down for the NEEMO 7 mission, but I understand the necessity of the medical criteria that are in place for saturation diving," Williams said. "I know Bob will ensure all the NEEMO 7 objectives are met. I expect to return to full dive and flight status in the near future and look forward to working undersea on a future NEEMO mission," he said.