The next residents of the International Space Station will
discuss their upcoming mission during a live televised news
conference on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. EST at NASA’s Johnson
Space Center (JSC) in Houston.

Russian cosmonaut and Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka,
Flight Engineer and NASA Science Officer Mike Fincke, and
European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut Andre Kuipers of the
Netherlands will brief reporters.

Padalka, Fincke and Kuipers will launch April 18 (EDT) from the
Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, aboard a Soyuz spacecraft, and
dock with the Station April 21. Padalka and Fincke will remain
in space until Oct. 19, 2004. Kuipers will spend eight days
aboard the Station conducting experiments. He is flying under a
contract between ESA and the Russian space agency,
Rosaviakosmos. He returns to Earth April 28 with the Expedition
8 crew.

Following the news conference, Padalka, Fincke and Kuipers will
be available for individual interviews with reporters either in
person at JSC or by phone. Reporters who want to schedule
interviews should call the JSC newsroom at: 281/483-5111 by 3
p.m. EST, Tuesday, Feb. 17.

The news conference will be broadcast live on NASA Television,
and questions will be taken from news media at participating
NASA centers. NASA TV is available on AMC-9, transponder 9C, C-
Band, located at 85 degrees west longitude. The frequency is
3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at
6.80 MHz. For information about NASA TV on the Internet, visit: