It is important for our fellow citizens to understand that we're going to take the NASA mission beyond the current mission, that the plan right now is put a strategy in place that will use the moon as a launching spot for further exploration.
President George W. Bush
Live from Space-CSA Talks With Army Astronaut
Army.mil will show a live video teleconference between Col. Williams and Gen. Peter Schoomaker at 2:15 p.m. (EST), Thursday, April 6.
Col. Jeffrey N. Williams launched Wednesday from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a two-day flight to the International Space Station some 230 miles from earth.
Flight engineer for Expedition 13, Williams is joined by Pavel Vinogradov of Russia and Marcos Pontes of Brazil.
The crew will conduct a variety of scientific experiments, to include studying the effects of long-term weightlessness.
"It is important that we dedicate time and effort to understanding the impacts of a weightless environment on the human body because the space station's primary purpose, of course, is ... to send crews back to the moon for a long duration and, of course, on to Mars," Williams said in a preflight interview with NASA.
While Williams and Vinogradov will be aboard the station for six months, Pontes will spend eight days conducting research before returning with the Expedition 12 crew.
Later, space shuttle Discovery will bring astronaut Thomas Reiter of Germany to the outpost, which will restore the station's crew to three members for the first time since the Columbia accident in February 2003.
As Discovery approaches for docking, Williams will take photographs of the shuttle doing a 360 degree somersault.
Williams - who conducted a seven-hour space walk during a ten-day mission onboard Atlantis in May 2000 - will also conduct spacewalks to replace and install station components during his current stay.
"It's a privilege and honor to be a part of it. The steps are sometimes slower than we would like, but every step, I believe, and hope, is important," the astronaut said.
A West Point graduate, Williams began his Army career in the infantry but soon afterward attended flight school. He was selected for the astronaut program in 1996.
More information and the live teleconference can be viewed on Army.mil
View Col. William's Space Launch