Payload Specialists on early missions were technical experts to accompany specific payloads such as a commercial or scientific satellite. On Spacelab and other missions with science components, payload specialists were scientists with expertise in specific experiments. The term also applied to representatives from partner nations who were given the opportunity of a first flight on board of the Space Shuttle (such as Saudi Arabia and Mexico), and to Congressmen and the Teacher in Space program.
Other roles on board Space Shuttle were Mission Commander,Pilot, and Mission Specialist. Contrary to other Shuttle crew, international or scientific Payload Specialists were generally assigned as back-up crew (back-up Payload Specialist or alternate payload specialist).
Payload Specialists were flown from 1983 (STS-9) to 2003 (STS-107). NASA does not foresee any more need to fly payload specialists before the end of the Shuttle program in 2010. The last flown payload specialist was the first Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon on board STS-107, who was killed in the Columbia disaster with the rest of the crew.
Gary Payton (first military payload specialist)
Franco Malerba (first Italian in space)
Mamoru Mohri (first Japanese astronaut on board the Shuttle)
Leonid Kadeniuk (Ukrainian payload specialist)
Ilan Ramon (first Israeli in space, last payload specialist, killed in the Columbia disaster)
|# of flights||Payload specialist|
|2||Ulf Merbold, Byron K. Lichtenberg, Samuel T. Durrance, Ronald A. Parise, Chiaki Mukai, Roger Crouch, Greg Linteris|
|# of payload specialists flights||Country|
|Total||60 Payload Specialist flight opportunities|
All were international Payload Specialists.
The Observant Astronaut; Israeli Payload Specialist Prepares to Honor Sabbath, Keep Kosher During Shuttle Mission
Jul 13, 2002; The physical and mental preparation required for space travel is immense, but for one crew member on an upcoming space shuttle...