Meet the first astronauts to fly the new SpaceX and Boeing spaceships

05 August, 2018, 02:01 | Author: Jacqueline Daniels
  • NASA SpaceX Boeing cst 100 starliner crew dragon spaceships spacecraft illustration business insider shayanne gal

On Friday, NASA announced that Ferguson will command what could be the first launch of astronauts from US soil since the shuttle program's swan song seven years ago.

Both capsules will fly to the International Space Station on their first crewed test flights, blazing a trail for future crews to ride to and from the orbiting research complex on operational crew rotation missions, ending NASA's sole reliance on Russian Soyuz spacecraft for the job. "Today's announcement advances our great American vision and strengthens the nation's leadership in space".

The chosen astronauts will be the first to conduct flight tests and missions on the Boeing Starliner and Space X crew dragon.

Astronauts are expected to make their first flight aboard Boeing's CST-100 Starliner in mid-2019, following a test flight without a crew in late 2018 or early 2019. Boeing's Ferguson was pilot on STS-116 on board Space Shuttle Atlantis as well as commander of STS-126 on Space Shuttle Endeavour and the final flight of the space shuttle program, STS-135 on board Atlantis.

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Trump wasn't the only one heralding NASA's commercial crew announcement today.

On Friday, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine introduced the nine astronauts, who will fly on the first four crewed missions using the new craft.

However, the U.S. Government Accountability Office warned last month that certification delays for the two companies could, for a while, leave NASA with no way to get American astronauts onto the ISS. Ferguson is a former NASA astronaut and space shuttle commander who now works on Boeing's Starliner program. It will ride atop a Falcon-9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center. Just as in the past, all human launches will originate here on the space coast. 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.

Josh Cassada: Cassada grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

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Glover and Cassada are spaceflight rookies. It has also been paying billions for cargo deliveries to the space station by SpaceX and Northrop Grumman. While in the Air Force, he flew in 55 combat missions over Iraq. Glover was selected by NASA in 2013, and his mission with SpaceX will mark his first time in space.

Suni Williams: Williams grew up in Needham, Massachusetts. As a naval aviator, she flew combat missions during operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom before becoming a naval test pilot.

Michael Hopkins was born in Lebanon, Missouri, and grew up on a farm near Richland, Missouri. She has spent a grand total of 322 days in space including a stint commanding the space station and performing seven spacewalks. He is a colonel in the Air Force, where he was a flight test engineer before being selected as a NASA astronaut in 2009.

Additional crew members will be assigned by NASA's global partners at a later date. "I look forward, sir, to getting you down there at some point out in Hawthorne [SpaceX's California headquarters] and maybe you can sit next to us in the cockpit and go through flying the iPhone to dock to space station".

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