NASA announces astronauts for SpaceX and Boeing launches from the US

NASA announces astronauts for SpaceX and Boeing launches from the US

The 1997 electrical engineering master's recipient has been selected by NASA to fly aboard Boeing's first commercial crew flight test, which is expected to lift off from Florida in the middle of 2019. Suni Williams, who is best known for running the Boston Marathon on an ISS treadmill, will be joined by rookie astronaut Josh Cassada.

Recent delays have pushed back the first flights of the Starliner and crewed Dragon to 2019, with uncrewed test flights hopefully happening in November for SpaceX or late this year, early next year for Boeing.

NASA paid seed money to SpaceX and Boeing to incentivize them to develop the crew capsules, picking up where the shuttle program left off. While both companies had recently said they would fly their first test flights with astronauts on board by the end of this year, those flights are now scheduled for 2019. "Today's announcement advances our great American vision and strengthens the nation's leadership in space".

All nine astronauts have military experience, and most are seasoned veterans of space.

Mr. Ferguson, who has been involved from the start in the Starliner's development, flew three shuttle missions as a NASA astronaut. Mr. Boe piloted two shuttle flights.

For the past seven years, NASA astronauts have hitched rides to the orbiting outpost on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft - at a cost of some $80 million a seat.

The chosen astronauts will be the first to conduct flight tests and missions on the Boeing Starliner and Space X crew dragon. Just as in the past, all human launches will originate here on the space coast.

Boe, a Miami native, was selected to the astronaut corps in 2000 and flew as pilot on Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-126 and as part of Space Shuttle Discovery's final flight, STS-133.

The first SpaceX Crew Dragon flight to the space station will include NASA astronaut and Navy test pilot Victor Glover, who has logged more than 3,000 hours flying 40 different aircraft and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, who has logged 166 days in space so far. It will be Mr. Glover's first time in space.

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Since NASA's space shuttle program was shut down in 2011, it has had to rely on Russian Federation to fly astronauts to the space station.

Nasa took the decision after the shuttle retired to turn transportation to low-Earth obit destinations into a service that it could buy.

In a ceremony at the Johnson Space Center here, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine stood on a stage with a massive American flag, and introduced the crews, one-by-one, as they came on stage in distinct groups: one for SpaceX, the other Boeing.

For Crew Dragon, the now confirmed crew includes Navy commander, aviator, and test pilot Victor Glover.

Trump's Twitter praise for the astronauts did appear to gloss over the fact that NASA is actually paying SpaceX and Boeing to fly American astronauts.

NASA also revealed that the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft "packed with science and hardware" will return to Earth on Friday from the International Space Station. She has logged 322 days in space.

NASA's continuous presence on the space station for nearly 18 years has enabled technology demonstrations and research in biology and biotechnology, Earth and space science, human health, physical sciences.

"This is the stuff of dreams ... this is a test pilot's dream", he said.

When you think about who's in charge of cutting-edge spaceflight in 2018, SpaceX is probably the first name that comes to mind.

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