As the shuttle Discovery returns to earth the next International Space Station crew is preparing for an October launch.
An American, a Russian and a business man will be heading to the space station this fall to replace the current crew. They will be transported up to the ISS by a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. This will be the fourth space journey for William McArthur, the Mission Commander and Science Officer.
He and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev will spend six months on the ISS. Civilian businessman Gregory Olsen is making the flight under a commercial agreement with the Russian Federal Space Agency that was arranged by Space Adventures Limited.
Olsen will send a week in space and then return with the current ISS crew. The third full-time member of the new crew is German Tomas Reider. He is set to travel to the ISS on the next shuttle mission. That launch has been postponed pending a resolution of the shuttle external fuel tank foam problem.
McArthur says a number of this missions experiments will center on ways to make long space journey’s possible. The crew will study ways to reduce the vulnerability to kidney stones during space travel. They will also study the affects of radiation on cerebral functions.
There will also be experiments with single spheres satellites that could one day fly along side a long distance spacecraft and inspect it during flight.
The next mission to the ISS is currently set for launch in Russia on October 1st.