NASA astronaut Stephen Bowen, a veteran spacewalker who flew aboard the shuttle Atlantis last May, has been assigned to fly of the STS-133 Discovery mission slated for launch February 24, 2011 from the Kennedy Space Center and set to dock with the International Space Station.
Bowen replaces NASA astronaut Timothy Kopra, injured in a bicycle accident last Saturday. Kopra had been named to the STS-133 crew in September 2009 and has over a year in NASA training for two mission spacewalks at the ISS. Bowen is a veteran with five previous spacewalks at the ISS.
Last week, NASA named a backup commander to train in place of astronaut Mark Kelly, the STS-134 commander. Kelly’s wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Az.), was critically wounded in a Tucson following an assassination attempt January 8, 2011. Kelly may still make his assignment aboard Endeavour, scheduled for launch April 19, 2011 with his wife making a miraculous recovery from her injuries. She is set to enter rehabilitation in Texas, according to press reports.