Note: This press release is an adapted reprint of NASA press release Number 17-107, “NASA Announces Upcoming International Space Station Crew Assignments”.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bozeman, Mont. – Project WET Foundation Board of Directors member Ricky Arnold is among five NASA astronauts who have been assigned to upcoming spaceflights. Arnold, along with Joe Acaba, Nick Hague, Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Shannon Walker, all have begun training for missions launching later this year and throughout 2018.
Arnold will join another NASA astronaut, Drew Feustel, and a Russian cosmonaut for International Space Station Expeditions 55 and 56 to launch in March 2018.
Acaba will be the first to launch, assigned to the Expedition 53 and 54 crews that already include Mark Vande Hei of NASA, and Alexander Misurkin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. They will launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft in September. Walker will train as a dedicated backup for Acaba. Arnold and Acaba’s assignments were enabled by the recent agreement to add additional crew members in 2017 and 2018 to boost space station science and research.
Arnold will be visiting the space station for the second time, but this trip will be much longer than his last. He also was selected in the 2004 class and flew with Acaba on STS-119. On that mission, he conducted two spacewalks, spending 12 hours and 34 minutes outside the space station.
Arnold was raised in Bowie, Maryland. He earned a bachelor’s degree in science from Frostburg State University, and a master’s degree in marine, estuarine and environmental science from the University of Maryland. He has taught school in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Romania. He also served as an oceanographic technician for the U.S. Naval Academy and a marine scientist at the Cape Cod National Seashore. He joined the Project WET Foundation Board of Directors in 2011.
First-time fliers Hague and Auñón-Chancellor will fall into the standard rotation for NASA astronauts. Hague will launch in September 2018 on Expeditions 57 and 58 with two Russian cosmonauts. Auñón-Chancellor will join the Expedition 58 and 59 crews in November 2018, along with Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques and a Russian cosmonaut.
“It’s great to get to announce so many assignments at once,” said Chris Cassidy, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “There’s plenty of work to be done at the space station, and the research opportunities are almost limitless. These folks are all going to do great work and bring a lot of value to their crewmates.”
Between now and their launches, each of the astronauts will undergo a busy regimen of training on space station systems and the experiments they’ll work with while in space.
“The addition of these extra crew members will be a boon to the entire scientific community doing research on station, and especially those who have been waiting for access to the platform” said Julie Robinson, NASA’s chief scientist for the International Space Station. “We’ll be capable of undertaking more complex research activities, which will in turn prepare NASA for the journey to Mars, unearth new markets for research in microgravity and deliver benefits back to Earth.”
Arnold and the other astronauts selected will join a long and distinguished line of astronauts who have crewed the International Space Station since November 2000. With the help of the more than 200 astronauts who have visited, the space station enables us to demonstrate new technologies and make research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. Its convergence of science, technology and human innovation provide a springboard to NASA's next giant leap in exploration.
Follow Ricky Arnold on Twitter for more about his mission preparation.