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Local Astronaut To Command Discovery's Final Mission

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Steve Lindsey, a 1978 graduate of Temple City High School, will be the commander of the space shuttle Discovery on its final mission, which is set to launch Thursday from the Kennedy Space Center.

Lindsey, 50, became an astronaut in 1996 and has flown on four previous shuttle missions.

He received a bachelor's degree in engineering sciences from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1982 and a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1990.

Lindsey was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force in 1982 and has logged more than 6,500 hours of flying time in more than 50 different types of aircraft. He retired from the Air Force in 2006 as a colonel.

"Everything is on track and going beautifully with the countdown," Mike Moses, the mission management team chair, said Wednesday. "We're really looking forward to a very action-packed, successful mission."

Discovery will take two key components to the International Space Station: the Permanent Multipurpose Module and Express Logistics Carrier 4.

On its scheduled 11-day mission, Discovery will also deliver Robonaut 2, which will become the first humanoid robot in space.

The mission will be the 39th for Discovery, NASA's most flown shuttle.

The shuttle program will have two more missions after this one: Endeavour is scheduled to begin a 14-day mission April 19 and Atlantis a 12-day mission scheduled to begin June 28.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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