Rookie Drew added to STS-118 crew

by Chris Bergin

Following the decision to conduct the ISS Expedition crew rotation of Suni Williams and Clay Anderson on the upcoming STS-117 mission, rookie astronaut Alvin (Al) Drew has been added to the spare seat on Endeavour – according to sources – making his debut space flight this summer on STS-118.

The 44 year old US Air Force Colonel will fly as a mission specialist on the ISS assembly flight, currently set to launch NET (No Earlier Than) August 9.

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Selected as a mission specialist by NASA in July 2000, Drew reported for training in August 2000. Following the completion of two years of training and evaluation, he was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Station Operations Branch.

The approval of the long-expected rotation of Anderson and Williams was finally confirmed by NASA last Thursday, following the confirmation from the Russians that Anderson’s seat liner for the Soyuz spacecraft could be delivered to NASA on time for the June 8 launch of Atlantis.

‘IELK shipping is currently planned for May 21st with delivery to KSC around the 25th. Due to the potential shipping issues, late stowage possibilities has been
reviewed and coordinated with KSC,’ noted one NASA memo. ‘Return manifest priorities are in-work. No major issues have been identified.’

Next for discussion was ‘the plan is to discuss whether the 13A.1 (STS-118) mission still needs to utilize 7-crew,’ which has now been passed, leading to Drew’s assignment to Endeavour.

**Ride home through the fire and plasma of re-entry with Atlantis on STS-115 – And now also with Discovery on STS-116 – TWO Stunning high quality 2hr, 355mb videos – from deorbit burn to post landing**

Col. Drew is currently on sabbatical to the U.S. Air Force’s Air University at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, attending a Master’s Degree program at their Air War College.

Drew received his commission as a Second Lieutenant from the United States Air Force Academy in May 1984. He completed Undergraduate Pilot Training – Helicopter at Fort Rucker, Alabama and earned his wings in March 1985.

His initial assignment was to the HH-3E flying combat rescue. He transitioned to the MH-60G and was assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command. There, he flew combat missions in operations JUST CAUSE, DESERT SHIELD/ DESERT STORM and PROVIDE COMFORT.

He completed USAF Fixed-Wing Qualification in April 1993, and the United States Naval Test Pilot School in June 1994. He has commanded two flight test units and served on Air Combat Command Staff. He is a Command Pilot with 3000 hours flying time in over 30 types of aircraft.

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