Commercial Space-Astronauts story

Gwen Vasquez
August 8, 2018

Leading up to the ceremony at the Johnson Space Center here, Bridenstine said it was a historic moment for the agency: "We are going to launch American astronauts from American soil".

"Today, our country's dreams of greater achievements in space are within our grasp", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.

"To work and live in space is just a humbling and incredible blessing in and of itself, and now to have the opportunity to work with these great companies on something that is so important to our nation and to NASA", Glover said.

The successful flight marked the scheduled end of the 30-year space shuttle program.

What's even more interesting is that NASA has finally designated a victor in the space race between SpaceX and Boeing, notes Fortune.

"NASA's Commercial Crew Program will return human spaceflight launches to US soil, providing safe, reliable and cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit on systems that meet our safety and mission requirements", said the official blog.

"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.

Following the big announcement, the nine elite astronauts chosen to re-launch US -based crew spaceflights to the ISS took part in a Reddit Ask Me Anything session, where they answered a lot of question about their upcoming missions - including if they got to choose which of the two crew vessels they will be riding in.

NASACommercialCrew3
In this illustration a Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is shown in low Earth orbit

Boeing aims to launch a CST-100 Starliner capsule on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in mid-2019, carrying a three-person crew: NASA's Eric Boe and Nicole Mann and Boeing's own Chris Ferguson. "With the additional access to space, new industries will develop in the years ahead at an increasing rate", said Lissy Donald, managing director of Compass International - a UAE-based firm that is the regional partner of Nasa and the United States and Space Rocket Centre.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will crew the SpaceX Crew Dragon test flight. Ferguson now works for Boeing and is poised to become the first-ever private company astronaut. NASA retired its space shuttle fleet that year, and started sending astronauts to the International Space Station aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, at a cost of $81 million (U.S.) per seat.

"As a test pilot, it doesn't get any better than this", said astronaut Nicole Aunapu Mann, a Naval aviator who will make her first trip into space on the first Starliner crew.

An engine flaw discovered during a launchpad test of Boeing's Starliner spaceship, created to carry humans to the International Space Station, has delayed its first crew test flight until next year. Ferguson, a former NASA astronaut and space shuttle commander, is Boeing's director of crew and mission systems. "We congratulate all the astronauts chosen to fly to the space station on commercially developed systems".

The astronauts named today (see the full list below) are tasked with those missions, all four of which are slated to happen sometime in 2019.

The Starliner spacecraft is being outfitted at the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center, according to NASA.

"The next generation of American spacecraft and rockets that will launch astronauts to the International Space Station are nearing the final stages of development and evaluation". She is an F/A-18 test pilot with more than 2,500 flight hours in more than 25 aircraft.

"It's absolutely the opportunity of a lifetime", Mann, a Marine Corps lieutenant who joined NASA in 2013, said during the announcement.

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