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 today from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The mission was initially scheduled to begin Nov. 1. Five attempts were made to launch Discovery, but all were scrubbed.
NASA officials expressed confidence there will be a launch at 1:50 p.m. PT Thursday.
“We're really looking forward to a very action-packed, successful mission," Mike Moses, the mission management team chair, said Wednesday.
Discovery will take two key components to the International Space Station -- the Permanent Multipurpose Module and Express Logistics Carrier 4 -- that will provide spare parts and storage capacity to the space station.
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.
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.
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.