Meet the first astronauts to fly the new SpaceX and Boeing spaceships
07 August, 2018, 12:52 | Author: Sherry Houston
The Boeing crewed test flight, planned for mid-2019, will carry three people, including former NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson, commander of STS-135 and, for the last several years, a Boeing employee working on the Starliner program.
"We are on the brink of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine during the "Launch America" announcement.
For the first test flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, NASA selected Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, each of whom made two space shuttle flights. - Alan Shepard, John Young are some of America's first explorers into the great unknown, but Friday NASA will announce who will be America's next space pioneers. Williams will be in the second crew in the Boeing Starliner, which will take them to the ISS. A NASA press release says more crew members may be added to those flights later.
No NASA astronaut has rocketed into space from American soil since July 8, 2011, when the space shuttle Atlantis took off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, laden with 28,000 pounds of supplies for the International Space Station. "I'll tell you, being able to launch to the International Space Station from USA soil, I can't imagine better", Cassada said. Though that will require final certification for International Space Station deliveries first, the space agency has already confirmed partial crews for those first missions. The spacecraft will launch aboard an Atlas V rocket from the Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. In fact, NASA is paying Boeing and SpaceX billions to fly Americans to and from the International Space Station. He will be joined by veteran astronaut Suni Williams, who has spent more than 50 hours on spacewalks and ran the first marathon in space on board the ISS in 2007. He has a doctorate in engineering and is a flight test engineer and colonel in the Air Force. This will be Ms. Mann's first launch, having joined the astronaut corps in 2013. Ms. Williams previously logged 321 days in orbit on two stays aboard the space station, most recently returning to the Earth in 2012.
Since then, they have been in a race to see which company would fly first in what's become a sort of modern-day space race.
The two astronauts that the SpaceX company will send later will be Mike Hopkins, who spent 166 days in the space lab, and Victor Glover, who will be making his debut.
Prior to their maiden crewed missions, both Boeing and SpaceX plan uncrewed test flights in late 2018 or early 2019.
NASA has named the astronauts who will fly the first commercial capsules into orbit next year. The crewed flight tests will mostly mirror the uncrewed missions, except a flight commander and pilot will be manning each mission once they are ready for a human crew. The spacecraft will dock and undock autonomously to the space station before flying their crew back to Earth.
The crew missions have been repeatedly delayed because of technical and safety issues.
U.S. astronauts now ride on Russian capsules to the space station, with NASA paying as much as $82 million a seat.
Taking the stage Friday before a huge American flag, Gwynne Shotwell, the president of SpaceX, told the crews: "What a sacred honor this was to be part of this program and to fly you". "We're not going to let you down".
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