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Thu, Feb 01, 2024

NASA Announces Astronauts for SpaceX Crew-9 Mission

Next Batch Bound for ISS Drawn Sets Off by August

Four crew will be making their way to the International Space Station aboard the Crew Dragon Spacecraft in late Summer to join Expedition 71 and 72 members above.

The team will include NASA personnel Zena Cardman, Pilot Nick Hague, and Mission Specialist Stephanie Wilson, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Mission Specialist Aleksandr Gorbunov. After launching "no later than" August, the crew will undergo a short duration handover with their Crew-8 predecessors.

Riding along with the announcement was a release from NASA advertising the resume of each selection. Cardman will see her first space mission after being selected for the astronaut program in 2017. Her academic career focused on biology, marine sciences, and geology as she worked her way up to a doctorate's degree. At the time of her astronaut selection, she was a doctoral candidate in geosciences, working on the geochemical cycling of subsurface environs. Since completing initial training, Cardman has supported real-time station operations and development for lunar surface exploration.

Hague will see his third space mission, with a resume that includes a very respectable 203 days in space already. It'll be his second time aboard the ISS. His 2018 launch went awry, resulting in an in-flight launch abort when his Soyuz MS-10 experienced a booster failure. Afterwards, he moved on to work for Expeditions 59 and 60. Hague's areas of expertise have generally centered around biology, biotechnology, physical science, and Earth science. Not content to serve with NASA alone, Hague recently completed a rotation in the Defense Department, acting as the US Space Forces director of test and evaluation from 2020 to 2022. He returned to NASA to work on the Boeing Starliner Program until this flight assignment.

Wilson carries a good deal of experience, having been aboard the STS-121, STS-120, and STS-131 spaceflights. Despite her flight experience in the Shuttle Program, Wilson only managed to accumulate 42 days in space. Compared to some of the other old salts at NASA, that may seem relatively paltry, but the living conditions aboard the Shuttle Discovery were never quite as opulent as those aboard the ISS - 42 days in such conditions is an accomplishment all its own. Wilson has spent much of her spacefaring career on the gritty logistical aspects of space operations, repairing and installing modules, solar arrays, and the like. Her experiences offer a solid logistical backing for Crew 9. During her nearly 30 years with NASA, Wilson served as the integration branch chief for NASA’s Astronaut Office focusing on International Space Station systems and payload operations, and on a nine-month detail, served as the acting chief of NASA’s Program and Project Integration Office at the agency’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

Gorbunov will make his first trip to space with the team, carrying a background in rocketry for Russian Space Corporation's Energia program. He too is a technical crewman, bringing experience in engineering and repair across a variety of aerospace machinery.

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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