San Diegan will command space shuttle Tuesday


An astronaut raised in Lakeside will be at the helm of the shuttle Discovery, which is set to blast off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday.

Rick Sturckow, a veteran of three previous space flights, will command the Discovery’s 13-day mission to the International Space Station, according to NASA.

Discovery is scheduled to lift off at 1:36 a.m. Tuesday. According to NASA, there’s an 80 percent chance the weather will be good enough for the shuttle to go.

Sturckow was born in 1961 and raised on a farm near Lakeside. He graduated from Grossmont High School in La Mesa in 1978 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from California Polytechnic State University in 1984.

Before joining NASA, he flew 41 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm while in the U.S. Navy.

During the shuttle flight, the seven-member crew of Discovery will deliver to the International Space Station the Leonardo supply module, along with a new crew member, Nicole Stott.

It will also deliver refrigerator-sized racks of equipment, including a treadmill named after comedian Stephen Colbert, from television’s “The Colbert Report.’’