WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA astronauts A.J. (Drew) Feustel and Ricky Arnold, and crewmate Oleg Artemyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, will discuss their upcoming mission to the International Space Station in a news conference at 2 p.m. EST Thursday, Dec. 7, at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The news conference will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency's website. The crew will be available for in person or remote media interviews afterward.
Feustel and Arnold will launch to the space station aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft, commanded by Artemyev, in March 2018, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. This will be the second time in five months that two NASA astronauts will launch together on a Soyuz spacecraft to the station.
The trio will join the Expedition 55 crew, and return to Earth in August 2018 as members of Expedition 56. Arnold, a former classroom teacher, and Feustel will continue NASA's Year of Education on Station initiatives to inspire educators and students. This will be Feustel's third spaceflight, and he will serve as a flight engineer for Expedition 55 and commander for Expedition 56. This will be Arnold and Artemyev's second spaceflights, and they will serve as flight engineers on Expeditions 55 and 56.
To request credentials to participate in person or to reserve an interview opportunity, U.S. reporters must contact Johnson's newsroom at 281-483-5111 by 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6. The deadline has passed for international media to attend in person.
Reporters who wish to participate by telephone must call Johnson's newsroom no later than 1:45 p.m. on Dec. 7. Those following the briefing on social media may ask questions using #askNASA.
During a planned six-month mission, the crew members will take part in about 250 research investigations and technology demonstrations not possible on Earth in order to advance scientific knowledge of Earth, space, physical and biological sciences. Science conducted in the orbiting laboratory continues to yield benefits for humanity and will enable future long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space.
Feustel is from Lake Orion, Michigan, and earned a doctorate in Geological Sciences specializing in seismology from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, in addition to degrees from Oakland Community College, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. NASA selected Feustel as an astronaut in 2000 and he has flown on two spaceflights. In 2009, Feustel served on space shuttle mission STS-125, the final servicing mission for NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Feustel also served on STS-134 to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the International Space Station on the final flight of space shuttle Endeavour. Feustel has logged more than 29 days in space and spent more than 42 hours on six spacewalks.
NASA selected Arnold as an astronaut in 2004. The Maryland native worked in the marine sciences and as a teacher in his home state, as well as in countries such as Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia. He accumulated 12 days, 19 hours and 29 minutes in space during STS-119, during which space shuttle Discovery delivered the final pair of power-generating solar array wings and a truss element for the space station. While aboard station, he conducted two spacewalks totaling 12 hours and 34 minutes.
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