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Meet NASA's New Astronauts Flying SpaceX And Boeing Ships to Space

Meet NASA's New Astronauts Flying SpaceX And Boeing Ships to Space

The astronauts assigned to crew the first flight tests and missions of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon give a thumbs-up upon introduction at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, Aug. 3, 2018.

Since then, astronauts have relied on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to transport them to and from the orbiting space station. NASA director Jim Bridenstine says the agency has spent billions of dollars a year to reach this stage and there is no turning back.

SpaceX's four-member crew consists of Air Force flight test engineer Bob Behnken and retired Marine Corps test pilot Doug Hurley, tasked with the Dragon's demo flight scheduled for April 2019; Dragon's first mission will be flown by Navy test pilot Victor Glover and the Air Force's Mike Hopkins. SpaceX has leased NASA's historic Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, Florida to launch Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets.

Former chief astronaut Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley - who served as co-pilot on the final shuttle mission - will fly on SpaceX's Dragon during its first manned flight. He flew on Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2008 with fellow Georgia Tech graduates Sandy Magnus and Shane Kimbrough. Announced today is the initial crew manifest for both the test flight and the first mission each company will undertake.

The commercial flights will mark the return of crew launches to the U.S., which has not seen humans lift off for space since the end of the iconic space shuttle program seven years ago.

"It will be thrilling to see our astronauts lift off from American soil, and we can't wait to see them aboard the International Space Station", Mr. Geyer said.




Boeing's Starliners will soar on United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rockets.

NASA is not yet certain exactly when the launches will be.

NASA has been paying billions of dollars to SpaceX and Boeing to develop the crew capsules to pick up where the shuttles left off, while also paying billions for cargo deliveries to the space station by SpaceX and Northrop Grumman. "We're returning to a full-capability ascent abort system to keep astronauts safe all the way through the profile, and that's something that the shuttle didn't have". Josh Cassada of the Navy, who will be making his first voyage into space. As a naval aviator, she flew combat missions during operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom before becoming a naval test pilot. She has spent 322 days in orbit during two missions to the space station. And Nasa also named the astronauts for those flights as well. The test flight with crew is scheduled for mid-2019. This will be his first spaceflight. She's no stranger to high-speed flight, however, being an F/A-18 test pilot with more than 2,500 flight hours across over 25 aircraft.

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

NASA seems confident these dates will hold, and that the commercial crew program is finally on the home stretch. "I'm incredibly proud of the progress our team has made, and it has been inspiring to watch them work through challenges quickly, while developing a brand new human-rated spacecraft that Boeing, NASA and the nation can be proud of", Mulholland added.