Sci-tech

NASA announces crew who will fly first commercial rockets into space

NASA announces crew who will fly first commercial rockets into space

NASA has always been working on its commercial crew programme, helping to accelerate private companies' spaceflight capabilities while it focuses its own efforts on other space exploration projects, such as the Space Launch System slated to launch in 2020. SpaceX will launch the Crew Dragon, while Boeing will launch its CST-100 Starliner.

Mr. Behnken, Mr. Boe, Mr. Hurley and Mr. 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.

The test flight astronauts on the Crew Dragon, both of whom joined NASA in 2000, will be Col. "Today's announcement advances our great American vision and strengthens the nation's leadership in space". All but three of the astronauts are space flight veterans. NASA's last space shuttle mission, the STS-135 flight coincidently commanded by Boeing's Ferguson, flew in July 2011.

There are four flights in all-two each for SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner vehicle-scheduled to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) throughout 2019 once uncrewed test flights are complete. In fact, NASA is paying Boeing and SpaceX billions to fly Americans to and from the International Space Station.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL - JUNE 19: Chris Ferguson, Boeing director of Starliner Crew and Mission Systems and former NASA astronaut, along with NASA astronaut Suni Williams, practice the emergency egress system training from the Crew access tower at Launch Complex 41 at Kennedy Space Center. It will mark Mann's first trip to space. The agency has contracted six missions, with as many as four astronauts per mission, for each company. The race to get astronauts to the space station first is real; a US flag that flew on the first space shuttle flight in 1981 and the last shuttle flight in 2011, awaits the victor. He returns to NASA after retiring in 2011. Robert Behnken, Douglas Hurley, Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will fly with SpaceX.

Neil Armstrong's personal collection of moon landing artefacts up for sale
Among the items on auction are Robbins medallions flown on the Apollo 11 mission, including an "extremely rare gold example". Items owned by Neil Armstrong will be sold at a series of three auctions.


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.

Since 2011, the United States has relied on Russian Federation to ferry astronauts to the space station. The delays could even result in a gap in US access to the space station, because NASA has contracted for seats on Soyuz only through November 2019, the report found. It won't be the first time SpaceX trounces Boeing.

During an announcement Friday to introduce the astronauts at Johnson Space Center in Texas, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the "health of NASA and our space exploration program is as strong as it's ever been".

"This is the stuff of dreams ... this is a test pilot's dream", he said. She has spent a grand total of 322 days in space including a stint commanding the space station and performing seven spacewalks.

For Crew Dragon, the now confirmed crew includes Navy commander, aviator, and test pilot Victor Glover.


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