NASA selects five astronauts for future expeditions to the International Space Station

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Credits : NASA

NASA selected five members for the next expeditions. The future expeditions will have Joe Acaba, Ricky Arnold, Nick Hague, Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Shannon Walker on board. All the five members have started training for the missions.

NASA astronaut Joe Acaba
Credits: NASA

Acaba will be the first to launch, assigned to the Expedition 53 and 54 crews. This already includes Mark Vande Hei of NASA, and also Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos. Walker will train as a dedicated backup for Acaba.

Arnold will join NASA’s Drew Feustel and a Russian cosmonaut for the next expeditions. The Expeditions 55 and 56 will be launched in March 2018.  Hague and Auñón-Chancellor who are first-time fliers, will fall into the standard rotation for NASA astronauts.

Expeditions 57 and 58 will have Hague with two Russian cosmonauts. The launch will take place in September 2018.  Auñón-Chancellor will join the Expedition 58 and 59 crews in November 2018. Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques and also a Russian cosmonaut will join the expedition.

This is Acaba’s third trip and the second long-duration mission. Selected as astronaut in 2004, he flew on space shuttle Discovery’s STS-119 station assembly mission in 2009. He returned for a longer stay in 2012.

Arnold will be visiting the space station for the second time. This trip will be much longer than his last. Selected as a member of the 2013 astronaut class, Hague is a colonel in the US Air Force.

Aunon-Chancellor joined the astronaut corps in 2009, and has been at NASA since 2006, when she became a flight surgeon. She also served as the deputy lead for medical operations for NASA’s Orion spacecraft before being selected as an astronaut. Walker spent 163 days as a flight engineer for Expedition 24 and 25 in 2010.

During this period, before their launches, each of the astronauts will undergo a busy regimen of training on space station systems. They will also train themselves for the experiments they’ll work with, while in the space station.

All these five astronauts will join the long and distinguished line of astronauts who have crewed the International Space Station since November 2000.


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