Crew named for shuttle mission delivering Node 2
NASA and ESA NEWS RELEASES
Posted: June 19, 2006
NASA has assigned crew members to the space shuttle flight that will launch an Italian-built U.S. module for the International Space Station.
Air Force Col. Pamela A. Melroy will command the STS-120 mission to take the Node 2 connecting module to the station. Melroy, a veteran shuttle pilot, is the second woman to command a shuttle. Marine Corps Col. George D. Zamka will serve as pilot. The flight's mission specialists will be Scott E. Parazynski, Army Col. Douglas H. Wheelock, Navy Capt. Michael J. Foreman and Paolo A. Nespoli, a European Space Agency astronaut from Italy. Zamka, Wheelock, Foreman and Nespoli will be making their first spaceflight.
STS-120 will be Melroy's third shuttle flight. The native of Palo Alto, Calif., served as pilot of missions STS-92 in 2000 and STS-112 in 2002, both flights to the space station. Zamka, a native of Jersey City, N.J., has a bachelor's from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., and a master's from the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Fla.
Parazynski, who also considers Palo Alto, Calif., his hometown along with Evergreen, Colo., will be making his fifth shuttle flight and is a veteran spacewalker. Wheelock, a native of Windsor, N.Y., is a West Point graduate with a master's from Georgia Tech, Atlanta. Foreman is a Wadsworth, Ohio, native with a bachelor's and a master's from the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. Nespoli is a native of Milan, Italy. He has a bachelor's and a master's from the Polytechnic University of New York.
This crew announcement reflects reassignments of other astronauts to other missions and to technical and management positions within NASA.
Nespoli's mission will be carried out in the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Italian space agency (ASI) and NASA for the supply to NASA of three pressurised Multi-Purpose Logistic Modules (MPLM) and the assignment to Italy of flight opportunities and ISS utilisation.
The International Space Station will have three Nodes, provided by NASA. Node 1, called Unity, was developed by NASA. It became the second ISS module in orbit after its launch in December 1998. Nodes 2 and 3 are being developed for NASA under an ESA contract with European industry, with Alcatel-Alenia Space as prime contractor. ESA assigned responsibility for Node 2 development to the Italian space agency (ASI), in order to take advantage of the same structural concept as the Multipurpose Pressurised Logistics Module (MPLM), a pressurised cargo container which travels in the Shuttle's cargo bay, and Columbus.
Node 2 is the first European node to be launched. It will serve as a connecting element for the European Columbus laboratory, the US laboratory Destiny and the Japanese laboratory Kibo. It also will be the attachment point for the Japanese HII transfer vehicle. It will carry a docking adapter for the US Space Shuttle and serve as an attachment point for the MPLMs.
Node 2 is also designed to be a working base point for the Remote Manipulator System, a Canadian robotic arm on the ISS called Canadarm 2. Node 3 will eventually house the life support equipment necessary for the permanent crew of six and will also accommodate ESA's Cupola observation module, a seven-window dome-shaped structure from where Canadarm 2 will be operated and the crew will have a panoramic view of space. Node 3 will be attached to the nadir port of Node 1 and will be delivered by ESA to NASA early in 2007.