NASA set to announce astronauts for SpaceX, Boeing missions
NASA set to announce astronauts for SpaceX, Boeing missions
Boeing Starliner Test Flights Slip – SpacePolicyOnline.com
08 August, 2018, 20:49
This is the first time since 2011 (when the USA's space shuttle retired) that astronauts will launch from the U.S. soil and from American-made spacecrafts.
NASA's new administrator Jim Bridenstine will announce which astronauts will be on which spaceship Friday morning in Houston. "This accomplished group of American astronauts, flying on new spacecraft developed by our commercial partners Boeing and SpaceX, will launch a new era of human spaceflight", Mr. Bridenstine said. - 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.
Boeing's CST-100 Starliner capsule is expected to undergo an uncrewed test flight sometime later this year or early next year, with a crew test flight in the middle of 2019.
Veterans of two spaceflights each, Mr. Behnken and Mr. Hurley will lift off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39A - the same Florida launch pad where the space shuttle left Earth for the last time in July 2011 with Mr. Hurley as pilot.
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. Crew Dragon is slated to be launched in April 2019.
NASA has confirmed that both companies have volunteered to perform spaceflight tests sans crew in order to reinforce confidence in their system.
SpaceX and Boeing are shooting for a test flight of their capsules by the end of this year or early next, with the first crews flying from Cape Canaveral, Florida, by next spring or summer. Ferguson now works for Boeing and is poised to become the first-ever private company astronaut.
On the first operational mission to the International Space Station, Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada would fly for Boeing. Since the last shuttle flight, NASA has relied on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to carry its astronauts to the International Space Station.
The space agency's priority is safe, reliable and cost-effective travel to low-Earth orbit and back (at least for now) for the crewed flight tests called Demo-1 by SpaceX and Orbital Flight Test by Boeing.
If those flights are successful, the companies will be certified by NASA for crew rotation missions.
Glover joined the astronaut corps in 2013; he is a U.S. Navy commander and test pilot with nearly 3,000 flight hours logged in more than 40 different aircraft.
NASA's response to GAO's warnings about a potential gap in having US astronauts aboard ISS is that it is "brainstorming" options.
Each test flight crew includes one crew member from the final shuttle mission, which Ferguson led and Hurley piloted.
Suni Williams: Williams was chosen as an astronaut in 1998 after a career in the Navy. Mr. Hopkins logged 166 days aboard the space station in 2014.
Dragon is the only space station resupply spacecraft now capable of returning cargo to Earth, and this was the second trip to the orbiting laboratory for this spacecraft.
Additional crew members will be assigned by NASA's global partners at a later date.
Williams has the most diverse space background of the astronauts named today, having flown on both the shuttle and Soyuz and served aboard the International Space Station for two long-duration expeditions in 2006 through 2007 and 2012.
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