NASA assigned the crew for the Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-126 mission that is targeted for launch in September next year.
The flight will deliver equipment to the International Space Station that will enable larger crews to reside aboard the complex.
Veteran space flier Navy Capt. Christopher J. Ferguson will command Endeavour. Air Force Lt. Col. Eric A. Boe will serve as the pilot.
The mission specialists are Navy Cmdr. Stephen G. Bowen, NASA astronaut Joan E. Higginbotham, Army Lt. Col. Robert S. Kimbrough and Navy Capt. Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper. Boe, Bowen and Kimbrough will be making their first spaceflight.
STS-126 will be the second spaceflight for Ferguson and Stefanyshyn-Piper, who flew together on STS-115 in September 2006. It also is the second flight for Higginbotham, who flew on STS-116 in December 2006.
Endeavour will carry a reusable logistics module that will hold supplies and equipment, including additional crew quarters, a second treadmill, equipment for the regenerative life support system and spare hardware.
A native of Philadelphia, Ferguson served as pilot of the shuttle Atlantis for STS-115. He has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel University, Philadelphia, and a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. He was selected as an astronaut in 1998.
Boe was born in Miami and grew up in Atlanta. He has a bachelor's degree in astronautical engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., and a master's degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta.
He was selected as an astronaut in 2000.
Bowen was born in Cohasset, Mass. He has a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., and a master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. Bowen also was selected as an astronaut in 2000. He was previously named to the STS-124 crew but has been reassigned to STS-126. The change will allow room for the STS- 124 mission to rotate a space station resident, who will be named later.
A native of Chicago, Higginbotham flew on STS-116. She has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and master's degrees in both management and space systems from the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne.
She was selected as an astronaut in 1996.
Kimbrough was born in Killeen, Texas, and grew up in Smyrna, Ga. He has a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., and a master's degree in operations research from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was selected as an astronaut in 2004.
Stefanyshyn-Piper was born in St. Paul, Minn. She conducted two spacewalks on STS-115. She has a bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was selected as an astronaut in 1996.