Image: Astronaut Tim Kopra
John Raoux  /  AP file
Tim Kopra, a mission specialist on space shuttle Discovery, was injured Saturday in a bicycke accident.
NBC News and msnbc.com
updated 1/15/2011 11:48:56 PM ET 2011-01-16T04:48:56

Tim Kopra, an astronaut scheduled to be lead spacewalker on space shuttle Discovery next month, was hurt Saturday in a bicycle accident that could impact his space duties.

FloridaToday.com's The Flame Trench blog said Kopra's injuries were not life-threatening.

"However, there could be an impact to his duties for shuttle Discovery's STS-133 mission," the agency said in a statement. "That possibility still is being evaluated," NASA said.

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Details of the accident were not available due to privacy concerns, NASA said on its website.

The STS-133's 11-day mission to the International Space Station is scheduled to launch Feb. 24.

The shuttle's primary goal is to deliver the new Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) to the space station, NASA said. The PMM will provide additional storage for the station crew and experiments may be conducted inside it, such as fluid physics, materials science, biology and biotechnology.

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Technicians in the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida are working through the weekend to strengthen Discovery's external fuel tank stringers, or support beams, NASA said. 

Discovery will carry a crew of six. A humanlike robot will also go along for the ride and become a permament resident of the space station, NASA said. 

Mission Specialist Kopra, 47, an Army colonel, and Al Drew, 47, also a mission specialist and a retired Air Force colonel, are expected to spend 13 hours outside the space station on two spacewalks, NASA said. These would be the second and third spacewalks for Kopra, who performed one spacewalk lasting 5 hours, 32 minutes during the STS-127 mission in July of 2009. It will be Drew's first spacewalk.

Before his selection to the astronaut corps in 2000, Kopra worked as a vehicle integration test engineer where he primarily served as an engineering liaison for space shuttle launch operations and space station hardware testing, NASA said.

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Following initial astronaut training, he served in the space station branch of the astronaut office. His first mission was as a flight engineer during Expedition 20 in 2009. Kopra logged two months in space, including one spacewalk during STS-127, the mission that brought him to the station.

The Austin, Texas, native is married with two children.

The crew for Discovery’s final flight also includes the commander, veteran astronaut Steve Lindsey, pilot Eric Boe (Colonel, USAF) and mission specialists Dr. Michael Barratt and Nicole Stott.

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