Press Release

Houston’s First Native Astronaut Launches to Space Tuesday

By SpaceRef Editor
June 10, 2010
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Houston’s First Native Astronaut Launches to Space Tuesday

Although every NASA astronaut has called Houston home at one time or another, only one — astronaut Shannon Walker — was born, raised and educated from first grade through her doctorate in Space City. Walker is scheduled to lift off Tuesday on her first spaceflight, a long-duration mission to the International Space Station.

Walker will serve as a flight engineer and conduct research onboard the station during Expedition 24 and Expedition 25. She is scheduled to launch in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft June 15 at 4:35 p.m. CDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan with Army Col. Doug Wheelock and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin. The trio will join Expedition 24 in progress, with station commander Alexander Skvortsov and flight engineers Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Mikhail Kornienko, who have been onboard the orbiting lab since April. Walker is scheduled to return to Earth with her Soyuz crewmates in late November.

Walker was born in Houston, attended Parker Elementary School, Johnston Middle School and graduated from Westbury Senior High School. She received a bachelors in physics as well as a masters and doctorate in space physics from Rice University. She was selected by NASA to become an astronaut in 2004 following more than a decade of work in the local space industry.

Walkers launch and arrival to the station will be broadcast live on NASA TV and the Internet. The live events and video of surrounding activities are (all times CDT):

June 15
3 p.m. — Video feed of final prelaunch activities in Baikonur
3:45 p.m. — Coverage of launch from Baikonur, scheduled for 4:35 p.m., and replays
7 p.m. — Video File of prelaunch activities, launch and post-launch interviews from Baikonur

June 17
5 p.m. — Coverage of Soyuz docking to station, scheduled at 5:25 p.m., and post-docking news conference from Korolev, Russia
9:00 p.m. — Hatch opening
9:50 p.m. Welcoming ceremony
11:30 p.m. — Video File of docking, hatch opening and welcome ceremony

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit:

For Walkers complete biography, visit:

For the latest information about the International Space Station and its crew, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.