Science

NASA names astronauts for first manned USA space launches since 2011

NASA names astronauts for first manned USA space launches since 2011

John Mulholland, vice president and program manager for Boeing's Commercial Crew effort, explained that the earliest the company can "confidently" do a manned flight test will be in mid-2019.

NASA has confirmed a delay in the first piloted flights of Boeing and SpaceX, part of NASA's Commercial Crew programme to send humans to the International Space Station (ISS) on private U.S. spacecraft. While both companies had recently said they would conduct their first test flights with astronauts on board by the end of this year, those flights are now scheduled for 2019.

"For the first time since 2011, we are on the brink of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine at the event attended by several members of Congress and other NASA and industry officials.

The announcement of crew for these first four flights is a nice morale booster for the Commercial Crew program, but there's still a long way to go.

The team is split into two parts, with each group specializing in one of the spacecraft: Boeing's CST-100 Starliner or SpaceX's Dragon.

These US astronauts previously flew aboard Russian spacecraft to get to the ISS.

NASA was established by the federal government during the Cold War to project American prestige and beat the Soviets, all in the name of space science. Ferguson, the Boeing astronaut, flew three shuttle missions, and has logged more than 40 days in space.




NASA has been paying billions of dollars to SpaceX and Boeing to develop the crew capsules to pick up where the space shuttles left off in 2011, while also paying billions for cargo deliveries to the space station by SpaceX and Northrop Grumman.

The return of crew flights to USA soil will end NASA's politically inconvenient reliance on Russian Federation for transporting astronauts to the ISS. NASA astronaut Bob Behnken, an experienced spacewalker who flew on two shuttle missions, will strap into the Crew Dragon alongside former shuttle pilot Doug Hurley.

In a statement released Thursday, NASA and its Commercial Crew partners revealed more details of the effort to carry astronauts from the U.S.to the International Space Station.

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner will be launched from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. An astronaut of Indian origin Sunita Williams is among the nine.

Victor Glover: Glover was selected as an astronaut in 2013 after a career in the Navy as a test pilot.

The contracts for travel to the International Space Station were awarded in 2014.

Victor Glover, 42, and Michael Hopkins, 49, will fly on the first operational mission of SpaceX's crewed Dragon. "To meet NASA's requirements, the commercial providers must demonstrate that their systems are ready to begin regular flights to the space station". The spacecraft will dock and undock autonomously to the space station before flying their crew back to Earth.