New Delhi: In a special announcement, American space agency NASA has revealed names of the crew members assigned for the upcoming space station expeditions.
According to NASA, Feustel will launch in March 2018 for his first long-duration mission, serving as a flight engineer on Expedition 55, and later as commander of Expedition 56. Epps will become the first African American space station crew member when she launches on her first spaceflight in May 2018. She’ll join Feustel as a flight engineer on Expedition 56, and remain on board for Expedition 57.
“Each space station crew brings something different to the table, and Drew and Jeanette both have a lot to offer,” said Chris Cassidy, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “The space station will benefit from having them on board.”
Feustel and Epps will be added to the long list of distinguished astronauts who have been a part of space missions on the ISS since November 2000.
NASA’s orbiting laboratory houses 3 crew members per expedition and since the missions overlap, there are a total of 6 crew members present inside the ISS each time.
At present, the space station is host to six astronauts as a part of Expedition 50 and 51, which include NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Roscosmos’ Sergei Ryzhikov and Andrei Borisenko (Expedition 50), along with NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, European Space Agency’s (ESA) Thomas Pesquet and Roscosmos’ Oleg Novitskiy (Expedition 51).