The final Space Shuttle mission's crew has been named by NASA one year before the last flight is planned to take place in September 2010.

Commanding the eight-day mission aboard Discovery will be NASA's astronaut corps head, Steven Lindsey, a four-time Shuttle veteran and retired US Air Force colonel. His STS-133 mission's crew is made up of five experienced astronauts, two of whom, Nicole Stott and Michael Barratt, are currently on the International Space Station as flight engineers but will return over the next eight weeks. Two of the other three are USAF Colonels, second-time shuttle pilot Eric Boe and STS-118 crew member Benjamin Alvin Drew. The final member is US Army Colonel Timothy Kopra. His first space mission, serving as an ISS flight engineer, ended on 11 September.

STS-133 will deliver logistics module Raffaello, which NASA has been planning to leave at the ISS. Raffaello houses spares that would have been transported by Shuttles if they were not being retired. The US government decided to retire its Shuttles after the 1 February 2003 loss of the orbiter Columbia on re-entry.

The ISS spares and cargo resupply future became less problematic after the successsful berthing of Japan's H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)-1 at 01:49 GMT on 18 September. Carrying up to 6,000kg (13,200lb), the HTVs Japan will launch will give its astronauts ISS mission time under the agencies' ISS agreement.

Stephen Lindsey 
NASA's astronaut corps head, Steven Lindsey will command the eight-day mission aboard Discovery 

Source: Flight International