Three radio amateurs aboard Discovery for July 1 launch
NASA senior managers over the weekend cleared the shuttle Discovery for a July 1 flight to the International Space Station. Three radio amateurs will be among the seven crew members, and one of them, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut and Mission Specialist Thomas Reiter, DF4TR, will stay on the ISS as part of the Expedition 13 and 14 crews, marking the first three-person crew since NASA grounded the shuttle fleet in 2003.
Chris Jones - VK2ZDD
The announcement followed a lengthy flight readiness review. Discovery will carry no Amateur Radio equipment when Commander Steve Lindsey and his six crewmates lift off to begin the 12-day STS-121 mission. Others on the flight include Pilot Mark Kelly, Mission Specialists Michael Fossum, Lisa Nowak, KC5ZTB, Stephanie Wilson, KD5DZE, and Piers Sellers. The shuttle is the only vehicle capable of transporting the components remaining to complete the ISS, including the ESA's Columbus module, which has been outfitted to house Amateur Radio equipment.
The Discovery crew will test new hardware and techniques to improve shuttle safety, as well as deliver supplies to the ISS and make repairs. Now aboard the ISS are Expedition 13 Commander and cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov, RV3BS, and Flight Engineer and NASA Station Science Officer Jeff Williams, KD5TVQ, who arrived in late March.
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