University of California, Davis, alumna and astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson is scheduled to lift off Friday, April 2, from Baikanour Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, for a six-month stay on the International Space Station. Caldwell Dyson will be flying on a Russian Soyuz rocket with two Russian cosmonauts and arriving at the space station on April 4.
During her mission, Caldwell Dyson will serve as flight engineer, making her first spacewalk and carrying out a variety of science experiments. She is expected to return to Earth in September.
Caldwell Dyson earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from UC Davis in 1997. She also has a bachelor's degree in chemistry from California State University, Fullerton. As a student at UC Davis, Caldwell Dyson learned to fly and to speak Russian. This is her second space flight: Caldwell Dyson spent almost two weeks on the space station in August 2007.
Don Land, professor of chemistry at UC Davis, supervised Caldwell Dyson's doctoral work and is available to comment on the mission and her time at UC Davis.
Requests for interviews with Caldwell Dyson while she is in orbit should be directed to the Rob Navias in the Public Affairs Office at the NASA Johnson Space Center.
More information about this mission (Expeditions 23 and 24) is available at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition23/index.html.
A feature article on Caldwell Dyson's previous space mission can be found at http://www.ucdavis.edu/spotlight/0807/aggienaut.html. A video of her January 2008 lecture at UC Davis is available on iTunesU http://itunes.ucdavis.edu.
Andy Fell, Research news (emphasis: biological and physical sciences, and engineering), 530-752-4533, firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Land, UC Davis Department of Chemistry, (530) 752-5260, email@example.com
Rob Navias, NASA Johnson Space Center, (281) 483-5111, firstname.lastname@example.org