Sunita Williams, Josh Cassada, Eric Boe, Nicole Mann, Christopher Ferguson, Douglas Hurley, Robert Behnken, Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover (pictured above from left to right) are the first U.S. astronauts chosen to embark on flights of the new spaceships built by Boeing and SpaceX. As revealed by NASA, the occasion will mark the return of space launches on U.S. soil since the space shuttle retired in 2011.
The American-made Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon were built with commercial space travel in mind. For its first test flight launches, the two specially-made transports will fly to and from the International Space Station. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced, “Today, our country’s dreams of greater achievements in space are within our grasp.” “This accomplished group of American astronauts, flying on new spacecraft developed by our commercial partners Boeing and SpaceX, will launch a new era of human spaceflight. Today’s announcement advances our great American vision and strengthens the nation’s leadership in space,” he continued.
NASA confirms SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is set to for its first crewed flight in April 2019 with an unmanned test in November 2018. For the Boeing’s CST-100 manned and unmanned test flights are slated to happen late this 2018 or early 2019. Below is a breakdown of where each astronaut will ride out their mission.
Boeing’s first Starliner crew:
- Chris Ferguson – Boeing employee, former NASA astronaut. Command shuttle flight in 2011.
- Eric Boe – NASA astronaut, space shuttle pilot.
- Nicole Aunapu Mann – Her first flight. Chosen as NASA astronaut in 2013.
SpaceX’s first Crew Dragon:
- Robert (Bob) Behnken – Twice Flew in space shuttle Endeavour.
- Doug Hurley – NASA Astronaut, former shuttle pilot.
Boeing Starliner regular mission crew:
- Josh Cassada, NASA Astronaut select in 2013, first-time space trip
- Sunita Williams, a NASA astronaut, previous space station commander.
First Crew Dragon regular mission team:
- Victor Glover – first timer to space, chosen in 2013 as NASA astronaut
- Michael Hopkins – previously spent 166 in space station, NASA astronaut
Additionally, the astronauts will be taking your questions on Reddit. See the information in the below tweet.
A big hello from all nine of our @Commercial_Crew astronauts! Learn more about their missions to fly on @BoeingSpace & @SpaceX spacecraft and how this will return human launches to American soil for the first time since 2011: https://t.co/9yrKIbvG6r pic.twitter.com/RVM4tK9cKo
— NASA (@NASA) August 3, 2018
What questions do you have for the first astronauts who will fly to and from the @Space_Station on American-made, commercial spacecraft since the space shuttle’s retirement in 2011? Ask our @Commercial_Crew anything NOW during a @reddit_AMA: https://t.co/qytDV937iH pic.twitter.com/zwPTyjGxkW
— NASA (@NASA) August 3, 2018
- Image Credit
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