Ed Campion Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1780) Eileen Hawley/Kyle Herring Johnson Space Center, Houston

, TX (Phone: 713/483-5111) RELEASE: 96-169

August 16, 1996

CREW NAMED TO FIRST SPACE STATION ASSEMBLY FLIGHT Astronaut Robert D. Cabana (Col., USMC) will command the first Space Shuttle mission to carry hardware to space for the assembly of the International Space Station in late 1997. Joining Cabana on the flight deck for mission STS-88 aboard Endeavour will be pilot Frederick "Rick" Sturckow (Major, USMC), a member of the 1995 astronaut class who will be making his first space flight. Rounding out the crew are veteran mission specialists Nancy Currie (Major, USA), Jerry Ross (Col., USAF), and Jim Newman, Ph.D. The seven-day mission will be highlighted by the mating of the U.S.-built Node 1 station element to the Functional Energy Block (FGB) which will already be in orbit, and two spacewalks to connect power and data transmission cables between the Node and the FGB. The FGB, built by Boeing and the Russian Space Agency, is scheduled for launch on a Russian Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan in November 1997. "We're pleased to have Bob command this first flight to begin the assembly of the International Space Station," said David C. Leestma, director of Flight Crew Operations. "This is a talented crew facing a very challenging and exciting mission." Node 1 will be the first Space Station hardware delivered by the Space Shuttle. It has two Pressurized Mating Adapters (PMA), one attached to either end. One PMA is permanently mated to the FGB and the other used for orbiter dockings and crew access to the station. Node 1 also will contain an International Standard Payload Rack used to support on-orbit activities once activated after the fifth Shuttle/Station assembly flight. "I couldn't be more pleased by the selection of this exceptional crew for this mission. This flight is of critical importance to the assembly of the International Space Station. I have every confidence in Colonel Bob Cabana and the STS-88 crew and their successful execution of this historic endeavor,"

said Randy Brinkley, Space Station Program Manager. To begin the assembly sequence, the crew will conduct a series of rendezvous maneuvers similar to those conducted on other Shuttle missions to reach the orbiting FGB. On the way, Currie will use the Shuttle's robot arm to place Node 1 atop the Orbiter Docking System. Cabana will complete the rendezvous by flying Endeavour to within 35 feet of the FGB, allowing Currie to capture the FGB with the robot arm and place it on the Node's Pressurized Mating Adapter. Once the two elements are docked, Ross and Newman will conduct two scheduled spacewalks to connect power and data cables between the Node, PMAs and the FGB. The day following the spacewalks, Endeavour will undock from the two components, completing the first Space Station assembly mission. STS-88 marks Cabana's fourth flight in space. He has been Chief of the Astronaut Office since 1994. Currie and Newman each will be making their third flight into space, and Ross will be making his sixth space flight. For complete biographical information on the STS-88 crew and other astronauts, see the NASA Internet astronaut biography home page at URL: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/. For information on the International Space Station, visit the Space Station home page at URL: http://issa-www.jsc.nasa.gov/ - end NASA press releases and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to domo@hq.nasa.gov. In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type the words "subscribe press-release" (no quotes). The system will reply with a confirmation via E-mail of each subscription. A second automatic message will include additional information on the service. NASA releases also are available via CompuServe using the command GO NASA.