WASHINGTON – NASA has assigned the crew for space shuttle mission STS-123. The flight will deliver both the first component of the Japanese Experiment Module Kibo and the new Canadian Dextre robotics system to the International Space Station.

Navy Capt. Dominic L. Gorie will command the Space Shuttle Endeavour on the STS-123 mission, targeted for launch in December 2007. Air Force Col. Gregory H. Johnson will serve as the pilot. Mission specialists will include NASA astronauts Richard M. Linnehan; Air Force Maj. Robert L. Behnken; and Navy Capt. Michael J. Foreman. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Takao Doi also will serve as a mission specialist. The mission will deliver a new station crew member to the complex and return another to Earth. Those individuals will be announced at a later date.

Foreman had been assigned to the STS-120 shuttle mission but has been reassigned to STS-123. Astronaut Stephanie Wilson, who flew on last year’s STS-121 mission, will replace Foreman as a mission specialist on STS-120, targeted for launch in September 2007.

STS-123 is the first in a series of flights that will launch components to complete the Kibo laboratory. The mission also will deliver the Canadian Space Agency’s Dextre robotic system, a smaller manipulator equipped with two arms and designed to work with Canadarm2 to perform finer maintenance tasks that normally would be accomplished with spacewalks by astronauts on the International Space Station. The mission will include four spacewalks to install the new hardware.

STS-123 will be the fourth spaceflight for Gorie and Linnehan, the second spaceflight for Doi and the first spaceflight for Johnson, Behnken and Foreman.

Gorie flew as the pilot of STS-91 in 1998 and STS-99 in 2000. One year later, he commanded STS-108. He was born in Lake Charles, La., and graduated from Miami Palmetto High School, Miami, Fla. Gorie has a bachelor’s from the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., and a master’s from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He was selected as an astronaut in 1994.

Johnson was selected as an astronaut in 1998. He was born in South Ruislip, Middlesex, United Kingdom, but graduated from Park Hills High School in Fairborn, Ohio. Johnson has a bachelor’s from the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., and master’s degrees from Columbia University, New York, and from the University of Texas, Austin.

Linnehan flew on STS-78 in 1996 and STS-90 in 1998. During STS-109 in 2002, he performed three spacewalks to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Linnehan was born in Lowell, Mass. He has a bachelor’s from the University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H., and doctorate in veterinary medicine from Ohio State University, Columbus.

Selected as an astronaut in 2000, Behnken considers St. Ann, Mo., his hometown. He has a bachelor’s from Washington University, St. Louis, and a master’s and a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.

Foreman considers Wadsworth, Ohio, his hometown and was selected as an astronaut in 1998. Foreman has a bachelor’s from the Naval Academy and a master’s from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif.

Doi was born in Minamitama, Tokyo. He first flew on STS-87 in 1997, a mission during which he became the first Japanese astronaut to conduct a spacewalk. Doi has a bachelor’s, a master’s and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Tokyo. He also has a doctorate in astronomy from Rice University, Houston.

Assigned to STS-120, Wilson is a Massachusetts native. She operated both the station and shuttle robotic arms during the STS-121 mission and oversaw the transfer of more than 28,000 pounds of gear between the shuttle and station. Wilson has a bachelor’s from Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., and a master’s from the University of Texas, Austin.

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