NASA Announces Crew For First Commercial Space Flights

Mindy Sparks
August 3, 2018

Astronaut Eric Boy is introduced as NASA announces the crew assignments for the first flight tests, missions of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon, at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, U.S., August 3, 2018. They were two of the four astronauts selected by NASA in July 2015 to be trained to fly commercial crew missions.

They're both the result of NASA's Commercial Crew Program: a almost 10-year-long, $8-billion effort to maintain access to orbit for U.S. astronauts.

"Safely and reliably flying commercial crew missions for NASA remains the highest priority for SpaceX", Benji Reed, SpaceX's director of crew mission management, said in a statement. - 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. The probe, which will travel directly into the Sun's atmosphere, will blast off aboard a ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The manned test flight from Boeing will feature one NASA astronaut and one Boeing employee, most likely former astronaut Chris Ferguson. Boeing said earlier this week it would carry out a test flight of the Starliner vehicle without humans later this year or in early 2019, after it suffered an issue with the capsule's launch abort system during a test in New Mexico in June, according to SpaceNews. Just as in the past, all human launches will originate here on the space coast.

Ferguson, who has been involved from the start in the Starliner's development, flew three shuttle missions as a Nasa astronaut. Boe piloted two shuttle flights.


When approved, each company is slated for six missions to the space station between 2019 and 2024, a total of 12 missions between the two companies.

Veteran station flight engineer Mike Hopkins will be accompanied by rookie astronaut Victor Glover on the Crew Dragon's first operational flight to the station. It won't be the first time SpaceX trounces Boeing.

The announcement can be seen on NASA TV and streamed on NASA's Facebook. The two companies have also developed new spacesuits, modified their launch pads and established mission control teams to support the upcoming flights.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recommended NASA pursue a backup plan for getting astronauts to the ISS, as its contract with Russian Federation to send them to the station via Soyuz launches in Kazakhstan ends at the end of 2019.

Astronaut Doug Hurley, who will be on the first crew of the SpaceX Dragon, hinted at the delays when he noted, "The first flight is something you dream about as a test pilot, and you don't think it's ever going to happen to you". Boeing's and SpaceX's commercial spacecraft may also open the space station - and more broadly, Earth orbit - to more privately-funded visitors and spaceflight participants from countries that do not have their own domestic crewed spacecraft and rockets.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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