Fri, Nov 23, 2007
NASA has replaced a crew member assigned to space shuttle
mission STS-126. Astronaut Donald R. Pettit will take the
place of astronaut Joan E. Higginbotham (pictured below), who has
left NASA to accept a position in the private sector. The mission
is targeted to launch in September 2008 and will deliver equipment
to the International Space Station enabling larger crews to reside
aboard the complex.
Higginbotham flew as a mission specialist on STS-116 in December
2006. She began her career at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., in
1987, contributing to 53 space shuttle launches. She was selected
as an astronaut in 1996.
"Joan has done a tremendous job as an astronaut during the past
11 years," said Steve Lindsey, chief of the Astronaut Office at
NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston. "She contributed her
expertise to nearly every space shuttle and International Space
Station mission. She will be missed, but we wish her the very best
in her future endeavors."
The STS-126 mission will be Pettit's (pictured above) second
spaceflight. Pettit will serve as a mission specialist aboard
shuttle Endeavour. He joins previously named crew members Commander
Christopher J. Ferguson, Pilot Eric A. Boe and mission specialists
Stephen G. Bowen, Robert S. Kimbrough and Heidemarie M.
Pettit first flew as a crew member of Expedition 6, logging more
than 161 days in space, including more than 13 hours during two
spacewalks. He launched to the station aboard shuttle mission
STS-113 in November 2002 and returned to Earth on the Soyuz TMA-1
spacecraft in May 2003. He was selected as an astronaut in
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