NASA Assigns Crews to First Commercial Spacecraft Flights

NASA Assigns Crews to First Commercial Spacecraft Flights

NASA on Friday assigned the astronauts who will ride the first commercial capsules into orbit next year and bring crew launches back to the U.S.

The missions will mark the first crewed launches from United States soil since the end of the space shuttle programme seven years ago.

If those missions go well, astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover will fly the first operational Crew Dragon flight to the International Space Station, while astronauts Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada will fly the first operational CST-100 Starliner mission.

The space agency also confirmed Boeing's plan to put off its first crewed space taxi mission until mid-2019, and geared up to announce who'd be on the first space taxi flights for SpaceX's Crew Dragon as well as Boeing's Starliner.

"For the first time since 2011, we are on the brink of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil", Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator, said.

The commander on the historic last shuttle mission, Chris Ferguson, is now a Boeing employee and has been heavily involved in developing the company's CST-100 Starliner capsule.

The first commercial crew astronauts From left: Sunita Williams, Josh Cassada, Eric Boe, Nicole Mann, Christopher Ferguson, Douglas Hurley, Robert Behnken, Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover. Mann's flight with Boeing will be her first to space.

The mission which ended Friday delivered 5,946 pounds (2,697 kilograms) of equipment, experiments and provisions to the orbiting research laboratory, including an AI-powered helper bot for the research lab's six-person crew, a spare hand for the Canadian robotic arm, and an externally-mounted NASA instrument to monitor the health of plants on Earth.

The return of crew flights to US soil will end NASA's politically inconvenient reliance on Russian Federation for transporting astronauts to the ISS. He was selected for astronaut candidacy in July 2000 and was assigned to technical duties after two years of training.

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The crew missions have been delayed repeatedly because of the technical challenges and difficulties of making spacecraft safe for humans. He flew aboard three shuttle missions, including the program's final mission in 2011.

SpaceX's first crewed test flight on the Crew Dragon will be flown by astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley in April 2019.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's announcement signals a milestone in the USA space program, with its shift to the private sector for ferrying cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station. This will be his first spaceflight.

SpaceX and Boeing's new spacecraft are shaping up to be two solutions to that problem.

NASA is expected to announce the crew assignments for the first missions for Boeing and SpaceX this morning, according to a release from the agency.

Behnken, Boe, Hurley and Williams were named in 2015 as Nasa's "commercial crew cadre" and have been working with Boeing and SpaceX on the development of the spacecraft and the simulators that will be used to train astronauts to fly. (BA) to the punch when it comes to flying astronauts to the International Space Station.

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner will be launched from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

NASA's continuous presence on the space station for nearly 18 years has enabled technology demonstrations and research in biology and biotechnology, Earth and space science, human health, physical sciences.

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