Wed, Jan 14, 2004
Veteran NASA astronaut
Leroy Chiao (right) will replace William S. McArthur, Jr., as the
commander of Expedition 9, the next mission aboard the
International Space Station.
The change in crew assignment is a result of a temporary medical
issue related to McArthur's qualification for this long duration
flight. Because of medical privacy considerations, no information
about McArthur's condition will be made public.
As a member of the Expedition 9 backup crew, Chiao has been
training alongside McArthur for months. Chiao joins Russian Flight
Engineer and Soyuz Commander Valery I. Tokarev for the six-month
mission. The Expedition 9 crew is scheduled for launch aboard a
Soyuz spacecraft in April. European Space Agency astronaut Andre
Kuipers is the Board Engineer rounding out the three-member Soyuz
crew. Kuipers returns to Earth with Expedition 8.
"This is a temporary medical issue for Bill," 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. We plan to assign Bill to another flight in the near
future," he said.
"Obviously, I'm disappointed I won't fly on the Expedition 9
mission, but I understand the necessity of the medical criteria
that are in place for long-duration space flight," McArthur said.
"I know that Leroy will ensure all of the Expedition 9 objectives
are met, and I look forward to flying soon on another Space Station
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