NASA Introduces Nine Astronauts for First Commercial Flights

NASA Introduces Nine Astronauts for First Commercial Flights

Both Boeing and SpaceX are also working with Bigelow Aerospace, a Las Vegas company that intends to launch private space stations into orbit, to be leased to nations or companies.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who made the introductions at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas on Friday.

Both Boeing and SpaceX say their spacecraft, the CST-100 Starliner and the Crew Dragon, respectively, will be ready for launch sometime next year. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley would fly on the first human test flight of SpaceX's Dragon capsule. NASA also named today the astronauts for those flights: Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins will fly aboard the first operational Crew Dragon, while John Cassada and Sunita Williams will fly aboard the first operational Starliner.

"NASA, which is making a BIG comeback under the Trump Administration, has just named 9 astronauts for Boeing and Spacex space flights, "Trump wrote on Twitter". Mann was selected as an astronaut in 2013.

"The first flight is something you dream about as a test pilot", said Hurley, who flew on the last shuttle mission.

SpaceX planned a non-passenger demonstration flight in November 2018, while the first astronauts, including Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, are expected to leave Earth in April 2019. Each test flight will provide data on the performance of the rockets, spacecraft, ground systems, and operations to ensure the systems are safe to fly astronauts.

Currently, NASA can only send staff to the orbiting laboratory with Russia's Soyuz spacecraft. The contrast was on display Friday.

It could be the first time the nation has sent astronauts to space from US soil since 2011, when NASA retired its space shuttle Atlantis and Ferguson was the last person to step off the shuttle.


The test flight astronauts on the Crew Dragon, both of whom joined NASA in 2000, will be Col. "We're not going to let you down".

NASA "has contracted six missions, with as many as four astronauts per mission, for each company", the agency said. Bridenstine said he had faith in the revised timelines.

"Thanks to the American public for your patience [and] your dedication for allowing us to finish the job", said Shotwell.

Recently, issues relating to NASA's certification process for crewed missions came under review by the US Government Accountability Office.

"This was above and beyond the NASA requirement in the contract", said NASA Kennedy Commercial Crew Program manager Kathy Lueders.

Boeing Starliner's flight will be known as the Orbital Flight Test, and it will depart atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Their mission will launch in mid-2019, if everything goes according to plan.

The eight active NASA astronauts and one former astronaut-turned-corporate crew member will launch on Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Dragoncapsules to the International Space Station beginning in 2019.

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