Educator Astronaut and Frostburg State University graduate Richard Arnold II is scheduled to fly on the next NASA space shuttle mission, designated STS-119. This will be Arnold’s first journey into orbit, where he will be a mission specialist during the 14-day flight to the International Space Station.
The launch from Cape Canaveral has been delayed until March 12 at 8:54 p.m. EDT, due to a slight leak that was detected in a gaseous hydrogen vent line, according to NASA. Mission managers will meet later Wednesday to discuss the issue further.
Arnold, a 1985 graduate, is a former teacher who taught at several schools in the U.S. and overseas. Arnold has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and his teacher certification from Frostburg, but he also discovered a love of biology during his undergraduate years that pointed him toward a marine, estuarine and environmental science master’s degree from the University of Maryland.
Arnold will be carrying a banner from Frostburg into space with him.
He and his six crewmates are targeted to launch aboard Discovery from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During the flight, Arnold will conduct three of the mission's four spacewalks. The shuttle is delivering the space station's fourth and final set of solar array wings, completing the station's backbone, or truss. The arrays will provide the electricity to power science experiments and allow the crew size to increase to six in May.
To follow the mission, visit the FSU Web site at www.frostburg.edu or the NASA Web site at http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle.