This mission will have more rookie astronauts than any flight in years — five have never been to space before. The two veterans are Mark Polansky, the commander, and Robert Curbeam, who will spacewalk three times. The others are pilot William Oefelein, and mission specialists Joan Higginbotham, Nicholas Patrick, Sunita Williams and the European Space Agency’s Christer Fuglesang, who will become the first Swede in space.
Discovery will deliver an $11 million addition to the space lab, release three small satellites on the return trip home and bring home one of the space station’s three crew members, German astronaut Thomas Reiter of the European Space Agency. U.S. astronaut Williams will replace him, staying for six months.
Launch Date: 12-07-06 9:38pm