The next flight of Space Shuttle Discovery will carry the
three members of the Expedition Two crew to their new home on
orbit; the launch is now scheduled for 6:42 a.m. EST,
Thursday, March 8.

This mission will also mark the homecoming of the Expedition
One crew, the first three space explorers to inhabit the
orbiting international platform. That crew will be returning
to Earth aboard Discovery.

“Between the crew exchange, the first use of the Multi-Purpose
Logistics Module, and the installation of the first scientific
racks inside the U.S. Laboratory Destiny, we are looking
forward to a very busy and productive mission,” said Mike
Hawes, Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Station at
NASA Headquarters.

Along with exchanging a crew in orbit, the shuttle will carry
the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module. Built by the
Italian Space Agency, Leonardo will serve as the station’s
moving van, allowing the shuttle to ferry experiments,
supplies and cargo back and forth during missions. For this
mission, it carries the Human Research Facility, the first
research payload to be installed in the U.S. Laboratory. The
facility will open the door for research in expanding fields
of biology, chemistry, physics and commercialization.

Discovery’s Commander is Jim Wetherbee, who makes his fifth
flight into space. Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialists
Andy Thomas and Paul Richards make up the rest of the
shuttle’s primary crew.

The Expedition Two crew is made up of Russian Commander Yury
Usachev and American astronauts James Voss and Susan Helms.
This is a reunion of sorts for this second expedition. Last
year, all three crewmembers members flew to the space station
on the shuttle Atlantis during STS-101.

Commander Usachev has spent a total of 376 days in space and
performed six spacewalks during two missions to the Russian
Mir space station. Voss, who will serve as a flight engineer,
has flown on four previous shuttle missions. Helms, the second
flight engineer for Expedition Two, has nearly 1,100 hours in
space and has also flown on four previous shuttle missions.
She will also be the station’s first female resident.

The arrival of the second expedition marks a milestone in
space station operations as the new crew transitions from
creating a habitable home to inaugurating research operations
on a permanent basis.

“During this mission, the Expedition Two crew will conduct a
number of experiments that will further our knowledge of the
space environment and its impact on the human body,” Hawes
said. “This would not have been possible without the hard work
of the Expedition One crew and the shuttle assembly crews of
the past few months, who have installed the U.S. Laboratory
Destiny and ensured the station has ample power to operate.”

For more than four months, the crew of Expedition One, led by
American Commander Bill Shepherd, have been testing systems,
installing equipment and preparing the space station for its
long-term mission of space-based research. Shepherd, along
with his Russian cosmonaut crewmates, Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei
Krikalev catch a ride back to Earth at the end of Discovery’s

There is more information about the STS-102 mission and the
International Space Station on the Internet at:

More about the latest research news can be found at:

A complete list of all astronauts and their biographical
information can be found on the Internet at: