NASA names astronauts for first commercial space flights
- Author: Joe Gonzales Aug 05, 2018,
Aug 05, 2018, 2:01
The new spaceflight capability provided by Boeing and SpaceX will allow NASA to maintain a crew of seven astronauts on the space station, thereby maximizing scientific research that leads to breakthroughs and also aids in understanding and mitigating the challenges of long-duration spaceflight. Boeing is aiming for a test flight at the end of this year or early next, and the first crew flight in the middle of next year. "Today's announcement advances our great American vision and strengthens the nation's leadership in space".
Trump's statement that NASA is making a "BIG comeback" under his administration could be referring to the three Space Policy Directives Trump has issued over the last six months. He, too, has a history on the space shuttle: Ferguson piloted Atlantis for STS-115, was the commander of Endeavour on STS-126, and Atlantis for STS-135, the final space shuttle mission.
The aviation companies will be conducting test flights at the end of this year and next, and astronauts will leave for the worldwide space station Cape Canaveral in Florida next spring or summer.
Maintaining the International Space Station costs the federal government up to $4 billion a year, and NASA is working on plans to privatize it. Since then, the space agency has turned to private space firms, like SpaceX, to oversee cargo runs to the ISS, while sending U.S. astronauts there on Russian rockets.
On the test flight for the Starliner will be: Eric Boe, a former space shuttle pilot who retired from the Air Force; Christopher Ferguson, a Boeing astronaut who left NASA in 2011; and Lt. Col. Nicole Mann of the Marine Corps.
The first Starliner post-certification mission, yet to be formally scheduled, will fly NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Sunita Williams.
The agency said more crew members will be announced later.
Their voyages are scheduled to begin next year, and they would be the first American astronauts to launch from USA soil since 2011. He returns to NASA after retiring in 2011. Eric Boe, retired Navy Capt. The astronauts will travel in the new Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon.
Williams has spent 322 days aboard the International Space Station since becoming an astronaut in 1998.
NASA introduces the astronauts assigned to the first flights of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft.
Hopkins had previously spent 166 days on the International Space Station, and conducted two spacewalks. I've watched people and teams come together these last few years, and now we're getting close to space flight. "As a test pilot, it doesn't get any better than this". In light of that, watching them train and then fly these missions over the next year or so should be fun for all involved. The missions will likely include veterans from the US' Space Shuttle program, Gizmodo reported.
"This is the stuff of dreams ... this is a test pilot's dream", he said.
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.