Published: Tue, August 07, 2018
Science | By

NASA to announce which astronauts will fly on first commercial spaceships

NASA to announce which astronauts will fly on first commercial spaceships

"This is a big deal for our country, and we want America to know we're back", Bridenstine said in a speech. American astronauts have still traveled to space, but they've used Russia's Soyuz spacecraft at a cost of about $80 million per seat.

Williams has already taken two trips to the space station, commanded it, and racked up 322 days in space, second on the all-time list for female astronauts.

Former shuttle commander Chris Ferguson, who helmed the final flight of the shuttle Atlantis in 2011, will lead a three-person crew on the first piloted mission of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner capsule. Ferguson now works for Boeing and is poised to become the first-ever private company astronaut.

United States astronauts now ride on Russian capsules to the space station, with NASA paying as much as $82 million a seat. Bob Behnken of the Air Force and Doug Hurley, a retired Marine Corps colonel. It will be Mr. Glover's first time in space.

"As a test pilot, it doesn't get any better than this", said Mann, a Naval aviator. SpaceX is targeting November for its inaugural Crew Dragon test flight, but Boeing won't launch its passenger spacecraft Starliner until late this year or early next.

The seven men and two women pumped their fists in the air and gave thumbs ups as they strode onto the stage to cheers from the crowd. "We take it seriously".

Nine astronauts, including an experienced space veteran from Needham, have been tapped to help shepherd in a new phase of the nation's space program, and will be the first to staff flights and missions in a new crop of commercially made spacecraft. An astronaut of Indian origin Sunita Williams is among the nine. He went to space again during Discovery's last mission in 2011. The Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

SpaceX's first crew tests will be manned by shuttle veterans Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. He's spent almost 29 days in space.

Only seven astronauts in history have been the first to fly on a brand-new USA spacecraft.

"The opportunity to fly in a new vehicle is any test pilot and astronaut's dream", Mike Hopkins, an Air Force colonel who will fly aboard the Crew Dragon on its first mission, wrote on Twitter.

When Glover left San Luis Obispo almost 20 years ago, he joined the U.S. Navy and began his career as a Naval Aviator and test pilot. He's performed six spacewalks totaling almost 40 hours.

The space agency has reason to be eager.

In 2014, Boeing and SpaceX were awarded a combined $6.8 billion in contracts from NASA to develop spacecraft capable of flying crews to the station, the orbiting laboratory.

NASA's investment also aims to boost private industry, which has flocked into low-Earth orbit in recent years for tourism, the satellite industry, and more.

Despite the fanfare around Friday's presentation, the Commercial Crew program has endured years of delays.

After successful completion of the flight tests with crew, NASA will review flight data to verify the systems meet the agency's safety and performance certification requirements.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon will launch on the company's Falcon 9 rocket.

The first crewed flights will only spend a short period of time in orbit before coming back to Earth.

The companies are running out of buffer.

The goal is vital for NASA's future space station experiments. Ferguson is the only non-NASA astronaut.

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