News>Three graduates to fly aboard STS-133 shuttle mission
Retired Col. Alvin Drew, an STS-133 mission specialist, undergoes an Extravehicular Mobility Unit spacesuit fit check in the Space Station Airlock Test Article at NASA's Johnson Space Center June 24, 2010. Colonel Drew is one of three Air Force Academy graduates for the mission aboard Space Shuttle Discovery, scheduled for liftoff Feb. 24, 2011. (NASA Photo/Mark Sowa)
NASA astronaut Col. Eric Boe dons a training version of his shuttle launch and entry suit with help from United Space Alliance suit technician Steve Sholtz in preparation for a training session in the Space Vehicle Mock-Up Facility at the Johnson Space Center in Houston Sept. 24, 2010. Colonel Boe is the pilot and one of three Air Force Academy graduates on the STS-133 mission. (NASA photo/James Blair)
Retired Col. Steven Lindsey, a NASA astronaut, occupies the commander's station during a simulation in the motion-base shuttle mission simulator at the Johnson Space Center in Houston Jan. 25, 2010. Colonel Lindsey, a 1982 graduate of the Air Force Academy, is the commander for the Space Shuttle Discovery's STS-133 mission, scheduled to lift off Feb. 24, 2011. (NASA photo/James Blair)
Retired Col. Alvin Drew, a NASA astronaut, participates in an exercise in the motion-base shuttle mission simulator at NASA's Johnson Space Center Jan. 25, 2010. Colonel Drew is a 1984 graduate of the Air Force Academy. (NASA photo/James Blair)
by John Van Winkle
U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs
2/23/2011 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Three Air Force Academy graduates will lead Space Shuttle Discovery on the STS-133 mission, scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Feb. 24.
Retired Col. Steven Lindsey, Class of 1982, is mission commander, while 1987 graduate Col. Eric Boe is the pilot, and retired Col. Alvin Drew from the Class of '84 is one of four mission specialists.
Navy Capt. Stephen Bowen, Michael Barratt and Nicole Stott round out the STS-133 crew.
Colonel Lindsey majored in engineering sciences at the Academy. He has 6,500 flying hours in more than 50 aircraft. A veteran of four spaceflights, he has logged more than 1,203 hours in space.
Colonel Boe majored in astronautical engineering at the Academy. Colonel Boe has more than 4,000 flying hours in more than 45 different aircraft, and was last in space as pilot for the STS-126 mission in November of 2008.
Colonel Drew majored in astronautical engineering and physics at the Academy. He is one of two mission specialists who will participate in extravehicular activity for this mission. He has more than 3,500 flying hours in more than 30 different types of aircraft and logged 305 hours in space as a crewmember of the STS-118 mission. For the STS-133 mission, he will spend 13 hours performing spacewalks outside the station on Flight Days 5 and 7.
STS-133 is slated to be the final mission for the Space Shuttle Discovery. The objectives of the 11-day mission are to deliver and install the Permanent Multipurpose Module and the Express Logistics Carrier 4 and to provide critical spare components to the International Space Station.
The Air Force Academy will also have a role in the next space shuttle mission, STS-134. The Space Shuttle Endeavour is slated for an April launch, piloted by retired Col. Gregory Johnson, a 1984 graduate.
Among the payloads on Endeavour will be a scientific experiment developed by the Air Force Academy's Space Physics and Atmospheric Research Program in cooperation with the Air Force's Space Test Program. The experiment, called Canary, will investigate the interaction of approaching spacecraft with the background plasma environment around the ISS and disturbances in the ionosphere caused by space vehicles.