Army astronaut prepares for December launch

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. ? One Soldier is proving childhood dreams can come true as she prepares to launch into space for her first time.

Army astronaut Lt. Col. Anne C. McClain, and her crewmates, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, are scheduled to launch Dec. 20 aboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a six-month rotation on the International Space Station.

?When you look over the history of human space flight during the past 50 years, it is a relatively short time,? McClain said. ?Every vehicle that has been built and every flight that has been taken is an accomplishment in and of itself. We have been flying to the space station for about 18 years and the thing we are always doing at all of our agencies is (asking), ?What?s next? What is the next step we can take where mankind has never been before?? For us, that is deep space.