Steamboat Springs astronaut Steve Swanson headed back to space |

Steamboat Springs astronaut Steve Swanson headed back to space

Brent Boyer

— Steve Swanson's adventures in space appear poised to continue for at least another 1 1/2 years.

Swanson, a 1979 Steamboat Springs High School alumnus and veteran NASA astronaut, has been picked for two upcoming missions to the International Space Station. Together, those missions could have him working at the space station for six consecutive months.

Swanson will serve as a flight engineer for Expedition 39, a joint mission with two Russian cosmonauts in March 2014 to the International Space Station. Swanson, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev will join Expedition 39 while it already is in progress. That mission will be commanded by Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who will be accompanied by a NASA astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut. Wakata's crew is expected to begin its expedition in mid-March 2014, and Swanson's crew will begin its expedition in late March 2014.

Swanson will be elevated to the role of station commander two months later, when Expedition 40 officially begins. He is expected to return from space at the conclusion of Expedition 40 in September.

Swanson, his wife and their three children live in Houston. His in-laws, Chan and Martha Young, live in Steamboat.

Swanson has been an astronaut since 1998. His space flight experience includes an Atlantis shuttle mission to the International Space Station in June 2007, when he performed two spacewalks. That mission traveled 5.8 million miles in 14 days, according to NASA.

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He also was a part of a Discovery shuttle mission to the International Space Station in March 2009. Swanson again was part of two spacewalks, and his mission covered 5.3 million miles in 13 days.

"Going to space and building a station, I'll never forget that," Swanson told the Steamboat Today in July 2011. "The launch is a fantastic thing. It's quite a ride — lot of power and acceleration in that vehicle."

To reach Brent Boyer, call 970-871-4221 or email

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