Area station cargo spacecraft named for late NASA astronaut Piers Sellers

January 26, 2022

— A British-American local weather scientist who launched on three missions to the Worldwide Area Station is being honored with the naming of a U.S. industrial spacecraft certain for the orbiting advanced that he helped construct.

Northrop Grumman has named its subsequent Cygnus capsule the “S.S. Piers Sellers.” Set to ship science gear and provides for the area station’s Expedition 67 crew in February, the NG-17 spacecraft will elevate off atop a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island in Virginia.

“It is firm custom to call every Cygnus spacecraft after a pioneer of human spaceflight,” Christina Zourzoukis, a human assets venture analyst at Northrop Grumman, stated in a video assertion on Wednesday (Jan. 26). “As we put together for our subsequent mission to the Worldwide Area Station, I’m proud to announce that the NG-17 Cygnus spacecraft can be named in honor of Piers Sellars, a NASA astronaut who helped assemble the area station and made lasting contributions to local weather science.”

Sellers started his profession with NASA in 1982, 14 years earlier than he was chosen to turn out to be an astronaut. Born in England, the place he earned his bachelor’s diploma in ecological science and a doctorate in biometeorology from the College of Edinburgh and the College of Leeds, respectively, Sellers moved to america to hitch a analysis staff NASA’s Goddard Area Flight Middle in Maryland.

“Piers created the easy biosphere mannequin, the primary mannequin to realistically simulate the interplay of world photosynthesis and Earth climates,” stated Zourzoukis.

Fulfilling one among his childhood desires, Sellers grew to become a member of NASA’s sixteenth class of astronaut candidates in 1996. His first mission was on board the area shuttle Atlantis as a member of the STS-112 crew. Throughout three spacewalks, he helped to put in a phase of the area station’s spine truss.

Sellers returned to orbit on STS-121, the second “return to flight” mission after the lack of Columbia in 2003. As a crew member on the shuttle Discovery, Sellers once more ventured outdoors the area station to check restore strategies for the shuttle’s thermal safety tiles.

Sellers’ final mission noticed him launch once more on Atlantis, this time as an STS-132 mission specialist. The flight delivered Russia’s Rassvet mini-research module to the area station.

In whole, Sellers logged 35 days, 9 hours and a couple of minutes in area, together with greater than 41 hours on six spacewalks. He retired as an astronaut in 2011 and returned to Goddard because the deputy director of the science and exploration directorate.

“In 2016, he acquired the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the area company’s highest honor. Sadly, Piers handed away later that 12 months on the age of 61, after a battle with pancreatic most cancers,” Zourzoukis stated. “Those that knew him, keep in mind his jokes and his capacity to make others chortle.”

The S.S. Piers Sellers will ship greater than 8,200 kilos (3,700 kg) of provides and analysis gear for the Expedition 67 crew. The NG-17 Cygnus will even be the primary U.S. industrial craft to make use of its thrusters to re-boost the area station.

As soon as emptied of its cargo and refilled with refuse, the S.S. Piers Sellers can be indifferent from its berth on the area station to fall again to Earth and be destroyed over the Pacific Ocean.

The Piers Sellers is the primary Cygnus to be named for an area station-era profession astronaut who died after the spacecraft entered service in 2013. Previous namesakes have included former firm government J.R. Thompson, U.S. Air Power Manned Orbiting Laboratory candidate Robert Lawrence, NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson and NASA astronauts David Low, Gordon Fullerton, Janice Voss, Deke Slayton, Rick Husband, Alan Poindexter, John Glenn, Gene Cernan, John Younger, Roger Chaffee, Alan Bean and Kalpana Chawla.

The latest Cygnus, which was launched in August 2021 after which deorbited in December, was named the S.S. Ellison Onizuka after the primary Asian American to launch into area, who died along with his six crewmates on the ill-fated STS-51L flight of the area shuttle Challenger in 1986.

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