Volume: 04, Issue: 22 07/07/2006 
STS-121 Mission Specialist Lisa Nowak is attired in a training version of the shuttle launch and entry suit. Image credit: NASA.
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STS-121 Mission Specialist Lisa Nowak participates in an exercise in the systems engineering simulator at Johnson Space Center, Houston. Image credit: NASA.
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STS-121 Mission Specialist Lisa Nowak dons a training version of the shuttle launch and entry suit. Image credit: NASA.
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Other Articles in This Issue:
Space Shuttle Discovery
Commander Steve Lindsey
Pilot Mark Kelly
Mission Specialist Mike Fossum
Mission Specialist Stephanie Wilson
Mission Specialist Piers Sellers
Mission Specialist Thomas Reiter

Mission Specialist Lisa Nowak

Lisa Nowak is assigned to the crew of STS-121 on her first flight. Lisa was born May 10, 1963, in Washington D.C. She is married with three children. Nowak enjoys bicycling, running, skeet, sailing, gourmet cooking, rubber stamps, crossword puzzles, and piano. She attended C.W. Woodward High School, received her Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, and then received a Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering and a degree of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, both in 1992.

Nowak provided engineering support for the Johnson Space Center’s Shuttle Training Aircraft Branch in Ellington, Texas. Selected by NASA in April 1996, Nowak reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. She served in the Astronaut Office Robotics Branch and in CAPCOM Branch working in Mission Control as prime communicator with on-orbit crews. Nowak has logged over 1,500 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft.

When asked in a 2006 interview, “Well, let’s talk about the first spacewalk. It’s one of the Return to Flight efforts at improving safety as a, this demonstration of the use of the robot arm as a work platform. Talk me through the EVA; tell me what’s going to happen,” Nowak replied,

That first EVA is basically a big test, and we’ll be doing some things we’ve never done before -- putting people out on the end of that boom, one and then two. From a robotics point of view, it’s going to be very interesting because these, again, are things we’ve never done before. Basically we’ll be putting first one person and, and then later two, in different positions, we call strong position, a more rigid position in the arm, and then one where it’s stretched way out. We’ll be having them do certain motions, jumping a little bit, trying to, as if they were doing some kind of repair, and then seeing how rigid the arm is: Does it move a foot back and forth when they start moving, or does it stay as a stable platform to do work and repair on? We’re going to evaluate all this data and decide whether it could be a stable platform for doing those repairs.

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