Suni Williams e Clay Anderson spostati sulla STS-117

Come annunciato il cambio di equipaggio fra Sunita Williams e Clay Anderson avverrà con la missione STS-117 e non con la STS-118 che avrebbe posticipato l’avvicendamento ad Agosto.
Sfuma così anche la possibilità per la Williams di battere il record di permanenza in orbita per un astronauta americano appena assegnato a Mike L. Alegria.
Anderson si aggregherà all’equipaggio della STS-117 senza prendere il posto di nessuno e farà parte della Exp. 15, un nuovo astronauta prenderà però il suo posto a bordo della STS-118.
La missione rimane programmata NET 8 Giugno.

Il comunicato ufficiale NASA.

April 26, 2007

Katherine Trinidad
Headquarters, Washington

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston

RELEASE: 07-93


HOUSTON - After several months working aboard the International Space
Station, NASA astronaut Suni Williams will come back to Earth aboard
the space shuttle Atlantis, targeted for launch June 8. That shuttle
mission, STS-117, will carry her successor, astronaut Clay Anderson,
to the station to begin his duty as an Expedition 15 flight engineer.

The exchange of Anderson and Williams was originally planned for the
STS-118 mission, now targeted for launch in August. However, that
flight, first set to fly in June, had to be postponed after an
unexpected hail storm damaged Atlantis’ external fuel tank and
delayed STS-117.

NASA managers approved the crew rotation Thursday morning after a
detailed review determined there would be no impact on space station
operations or future shuttle mission objectives. Since an earlier
crew rotation was possible, NASA managers decided it would be prudent
to return Williams and deliver Anderson sooner rather than later.

With the new plan, Williams’ mission on the station will be
approximately the same length as originally anticipated. Williams, a
Massachusetts native, launched to the station Dec. 9, 2006, aboard
the space shuttle Discovery as part of the STS-116 mission. During
her stay, she set a record for spacewalks by a female astronaut by
conducting four excursions for a total of 29 hours and 17 minutes.
Upon Williams’ return, she will have accumulated more time in space
than any other woman.

Anderson, a Nebraska native, makes his first spaceflight when he
Expedition 15. Discovery is scheduled to bring him home during the
STS-120 mission, targeted for launch Oct. 20.

For additional biographical information about Williams and Anderson
and more information on the space station, visit: