A veteran astronaut, who is also a graduate of Purdue University, is returning to the International Space Station. NASA says Andrew Feustel will leave in March 2018 for his first long-duration mission to the ISS.
Feustel will serve as flight engineer on Expedition 55 and commander of Expedition 56, according to NASA. Feustel previously visited the space station in 2011 as a crew member on the space shuttle Endeavour’s final mission. He also flew on space shuttle Atlantis in 2009 for the final servicing mission of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
Feustel earned a bachelor’s degree in solid Earth sciences and a master’s degree in geophysics from Purdue. He was chosen as part of the 2000 astronaut class.
Joining Feustel later in the year is Jeanette Epps, a first-flight astronaut who will become the first African American space station crew member. Her first space flight will launch in May 2018 and she will serve as a flight engineer on Expedition 56 alongside Feustel.
"Each space station crew brings something different to the table, and Drew and Jeanette both have a lot to offer," said Chris Cassidy, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. "The space station will benefit from having them on board."