Staff writer, with CNA, Los Angeles
A Taiwan-born US astronaut has been assigned to serve as commander of the Crew Dragon spacecraft that is to fly to the International Space Station next year, marking his second trip into space, NASA announced on Friday.
Kjell Lindgren, 48, is to command the fourth crew rotation flight of the craft that is to launch next year from a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the US agency said in a press release.
It would be Lindgren’s second trip into space, following a 141-day stay at the space station in 2015 for expeditions 44 and 45, NASA said.
Part of a US Air Force family, Lindgren was born in Taipei to a Swedish-American father and a Taiwanese mother, and spent two-and-a-half years in Taiwan before moving to England and ultimately to the US, where he finished high school at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Virginia.
Lindgren earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the US Air Force Academy, a master’s degree in cardiovascular physiology from Colorado State University and a medical degree from the University of Colorado.
Before being selected as an astronaut in 2009, he was a flight surgeon supporting space shuttle and space station missions.
In December last year, NASA named him as one of the Artemis Team of astronauts that helped pave the way for the agency’s upcoming lunar missions.
Next year’s mission will be part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, working with the US aerospace industry as companies develop and operate a new generation of spacecraft and launch systems capable of carrying crews into low-Earth orbit and the space station.
Billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX built the Crew Dragon to carry astronauts to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s plan to delegate space station flights to private companies.
NASA also announced that Bob Hines, 46, is to serve as the spacecraft pilot for the mission next year.
Additional crew members are to be assigned as mission specialists by the agency’s international partners, it added.
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