NASA notes: Apollo 11, Curiosity and the ISS (part three)

The International Space Station photographed by a crewmember of STS-134 aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in 2011. STS-134 was NASA’s next-to-last space shuttle mission.  photo: NASA

The International Space Station photographed by a crewmember of STS-134 aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in 2011. STS-134 was NASA’s next-to-last space shuttle mission. photo: NASA

NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is continuing to push the envelope with cutting edge research, extending man’s reach into the future of exploration both in outer space and on planet Earth. We would like to acknowledge milestones of three major achievements among the many that NASA has made on the moon, on Mars and in low Earth orbit.

The first week we recalled the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission, mankind’s greatest scientific accomplishment Last week we explored Mars with the Curiosity rover celebrating the completion of a Martian year. This week we conclude our series with a look at crew of the magnificent structure that has been in low Earth orbit for over 15 years, that has grown and expanded our global reach into the cosmos—the International Space Station [ISS]. It is particularly significant now that Butch Wilmore is headed back up to the ISS this September.

Pictured front row (l-r): Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev, commander; NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore, flight engineer. Back row (l-r): NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman; European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst; Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova, all flight engineers (photo courtesy NASA).

Pictured front row (l-r): Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev, commander; NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore, flight engineer. Back row (l-r): NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman; European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst; Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova, all flight engineers (photo courtesy NASA).

ISS crew update
Mt. Juliet native Barry ‘Butch’ Wilmore will command Expedition 42 onboard the International Space Station from November 2014 to March 2015. The next crew to launch to the ISS includes NASA astronaut Wilmore and cosmonauts Elena Serova and Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), who are scheduled to launch to the space station on Thursday, Sept. 25 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft. Wilmore, Serova and Samokutyaev will serve as flight engineers for ISS Expedition 41 until November, at which time Wilmore will assume command of Expedition 42. The trio is scheduled to return to Earth in March 2015.

A captain in the U.S. Navy, Wilmore grew up in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. He is a graduate of Mt. Juliet High School, Tennessee Technological University and the University of Tennessee. During his tenure as a fleet naval officer and pilot, Wilmore completed four operational deployments, flying the A-7E and FA 18 aircraft. He has accumulated almost 7,000 flight hours and more than 600 carrier landings.

Wilmore joined NASA in 2000 and flew aboard the space shuttle Atlantis for STS-129 as its pilot in November 2009. The mission delivered two Express Logistics Carriers and about 30,000 pounds of replacement parts to the space station. That mission was covered in depth by the Nashville PRIDE family of newspapers, with a correspondent on site in Florida there on the Space Coast for the duration of the mission. To date, Wilmore has 10 days, 19 hours and 16 minutes of spaceflight to his credit.

Soviet cosmonaut Elena Serova is only the fourth woman from Russia to venture into space, the first in 14 years.

“I hope that I will be a role model not only for women, girls, young girls, but also for men, said Serova. “That I will be a good example to follow because like I said, it’s a huge responsibility.”