ESA astronaut Jean-Francois Clervoy has been selected by NASA to fly as mission specialist on board Space Shuttle Atlantis for flight STS-66 this autumn. The mission, named ATLAS 3 (Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science), continues a series of flights to study the Sun's energy and its effects on the Earth's climate and environment.
Jean-Francois Clervoy, a Frenchman, was selected by ESA in May 1992 along with five other young candidates to expand the corps of ESA astronauts. Three of them, together with ESA astronaut Ulf Merbold (Germany), who has already flown two Shuttle missions, are training in Star City, near Moscow, for the ESA/Russian EUROMIR 94 and EUROMIR 95 missions. They are Pedro Duque from Spain, Christer Fuglesang from Sweden and Thomas Reiter from Germany. Maurizio Cheli (Italy) and Jean-Francois Clervoy have been in Houston since mid-1992 and have qualified as mission specialists at NASA's Johnson Space Flight Center there.
The STS-66 mission is scheduled to last 10 days. In addition to the ATLAS 3 payload -with a significant ESA contribution and a strong input from European scientists - the mission will include the deployment and retrieval of the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometer Telescope for Atmosphere, or CRISTA. Mounted on the Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS), this payload is designed to explore and measure the variability of the atmosphere. CRISTA/SPAS is a joint U.S./German experiment.
Jean-Francois Clervoy's main task will be to operate the Shuttle's robot arm to deploy the CRISTA-SPAS experiment and then retrieve it before the mission is concluded. US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Donald R. McMonagle has been selected to command Space Shuttle Atlantis; USAF Major Curtis L. Brown Jr. will be the pilot, while Scott E. Parazynski and Joseph R. Tanner - both on their first Shuttle assignment - will be the other mission specialists, alongside Clervoy. Ellen Ochoa has been named payload commander for this flight.