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Astronaut Noguchi's Training Report, #9
Newly formed STS-114 - New members for the Space Shuttle Return to Flight

Last Updated: July 16, 2004

Hello, everyone. I'm Soichi Noguchi in Houston. We are now proceeding with the training toward the launch next March, nine months from now. It reminds me of two years ago, when the launch had been planned on March 2003.

However, the situation is quite different now since three members were added to make a total of seven crew members for the STS-114 mission.*

STS-114 crew members

The STS-114 crew was restructured last November by adding three new members for the Return to Flight (RTF) mission. Its purpose was to conduct various extra activities for the safe return to flight, and it required each member to concentrate on his/her work individually. Adding the three members clarified each member's task.

In this report, I will introduce our new members and their roles and personalities.

* The STS-114 crew formerly consisted of four Space Shuttle crew members and three ISS expedition crew members. In November 2003, the STS-114 crew was restructured to consist of seven Space Shuttle crew members.

Astronaut Andrew S.W. Thomas
Mission Specialist 3 (MS3)

Astronaut Thomas is an experienced astronaut and one of the last expedition crew members of the Shuttle-Mir Program. He has stayed in orbit for 141 days and experienced Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) once in his last flight.

Astronaut Andrew Thomas (left) andCommander Eileen Collins (right)

He serves as an EVA conductor who observes the whole EVA process to make sure it proceeds smoothly. He supports us by confirming the procedure from inside while astronaut Steven Robinson and I are outside.

Astronaut Thomas often gives us advice based on his EVA experience and is capable of realizing things other people tend to miss. Although we always try to prevent such situations, we sometimes fail when we conduct a series of procedures. Astronaut Thomas is good at catching things we might overlook or forget.

Astronaut Thomas is just like our big brother. It is not just because he is the oldest of the crew, but he served as an Associate Director of the Astronaut Office before joining STS-114. Therefore, he is respected and trusted by other crew members.

Astronaut Wendy Lawrence
Mission Specialist 4(MS4)

Astronaut Wendy Lawrence (right)

Astronaut Lawrence is, so to say, our big sister just like Astronaut Thomas is our big brother. As a matter of fact, she received training in the same Astronaut Candidate (ASCAN) class as Astronaut Thomas. She spent a long time in Russia, and served as a backup crew member during the Shuttle-Mir Program. She also worked for the International Space Station (ISS) Program and is specialized in various ISS activities. She is perfectly fit for this ISS mission.

STS-114 is a Space Shuttle mission; however one of its important objectives is to supply the ISS. Therefore, we are very grateful for her experience and knowledge in the logistics area.

Astronaut Lawrence is also in charge of operating Canadarm2 (robotic arm of the ISS) during our EVA. We will ride on Canadarm2 to move along the complex when we replace the Control Moment Gyroscope (CMG) that controls the attitude of the ISS, and when we assemble the External Stowage Platform 2 (ESP-2). It is important to coordinate our activities to conduct these tasks successfully.

Astronaut Charles Camarda
Mission Specialist 5(MS5)

Astronaut Charles Camarda (left)

Astronaut Camarda worked as an engineer at LangleyResearch Center and is deeply interested in engineering issues related to RTF. He has the perspectives of both an engineer and a shuttle crew member. He always observes whether the development is on track, and occasionally attends meetings as a crew representative.

In the STS-114 mission, his main role will be operating the Space Shuttle robotic arm. He will be responsible for inspecting the thermal protection system using the extension boom.

Astronaut Camarda, James Kelly, and I are graduates of the same ASCAN class. I have a sense of intimacy with Astronaut Camarda because we have similar circumstances as it is the first time for both of us to fly on a mission.

From four members to seven members

Commander Collins, astronaut Kelly, Robinson and I are continuing to work together on our training. We are making the most of our training to date, and at the same time trying to maximize the abilities of the three new crew members.

Now I'd like to introduce examples of the changes made from the former structure.

STS-114 crew in KC-135, conducting the tile repair development test (From right, Astronauts Noguchi, Thomas, Camarda, and Robinson)

Commander Collins, Astronaut Kelly, Astronaut Robinson, and I will sit on the flight deck during the launch as before, but we will be joined by Astronaut Thomas during the reentry. Astronaut Thomas is receiving the training for this task.

Astronaut Robinson and I used to participate in the ISS rendezvous/docking activity, but Astronauts Lawrence and Camarda took over that role.

There has been a change in our EVA, too. Commander Collins, who used to support us from inside, and Astronaut Kelly, who used to operate the robotic arm, are not in the activity anymore. Instead, Astronaut Thomas joined Astronaut Robinson and me for the EVA. We will do our best to cooperate and respond to possible procedure changes as the engineering developments progress toward RTF.

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