Rice alumna Shannon Walker heads to space station next week

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Rice alumna Shannon Walker heads to space station next week

Triple Owl Shannon Walker is scheduled to blast off for the International Space Station (ISS) next week as part of Expedition 24, the six-member team that will man the station for six months.


Walker and her crewmates Doug Wheelock and Fyodor Yurchikhin will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan June 15 and dock with the ISS two days later. Three other members of the crew are already at the ISS.

Walker, a flight engineer who earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in space science at Rice, is the first Houston-born astronaut. She will spend six months at the ISS, where she expects to welcome the final scheduled space shuttle flight before she returns home aboard a Soyuz capsule.

Among the items she’ll fly to the ISS are a watch owned by Amelia Earhart and a plaque to be installed at Rice’s Brockman Hall for Physics, which is currently under construction.

NASA-TV will broadcast mission highlights June 15, beginning with pre-launch activities at 3 p.m. and the launch scheduled for 4:35 p.m. It will broadcast the docking with the ISS June 17 at 5:25 p.m.

The Rice Space Institute has invited members of the Rice community to a gathering at Herman Brown Hall to view the launch.

For more about Walker’s mission, click here.

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