NASA names astronauts for first manned USA space launches since 2011

04 August, 2018, 01:43 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • NASA is naming 8 astronauts to fly SpaceX and Boeing's new spaceships - here's how to watch the announcement live

Their voyages are scheduled to begin next year, and they would be the first American astronauts to launch from US soil since 2011.

During the press announcement of the new astronaut assignments, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine asked two veteran astronauts to compare their new rides to the shuttles they flew more than seven years ago.

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.

But a Government Accountability Office report published last month raised alarm bells that the project is running behind schedule, and could miss key deadlines.

NASA said SpaceX was now aiming to conduct an uncrewed demonstration flight of its upgraded Dragon capsule in November, known as SpaceX Demo-1.

The crews would fly on spacecraft developed not by NASA, but by two corporations, SpaceX and Boeing, which are under contract to provide a taxi-like service to the International Space Station. NASA has worked closely with the companies throughout design, development and testing to ensure the systems meet NASA's safety and performance requirements. The race to get astronauts to the space station first is real; a USA flag that flew on the first space shuttle flight in 1981 and the last shuttle flight in 2011, awaits the victor. "It will be thrilling to see our astronauts lift off from American soil, and we can't wait to see them aboard the International Space Station".

Victor Glover: Glover was selected as an astronaut in 2013 after a career in the Navy as a test pilot. In a statement, the agency said that additional crew members for those first post-certification missions "will be assigned by NASA's worldwide partners at a later date". The US Air Force fighter pilot Colonel has also served as a test pilot. The Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. NASA plans the first crewed test for April 2019.

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Josh Cassada, 45, will fly with Sunita ("Suni") Williams, 52, aboard Nasa's first contracted Starliner mission. This will be his first spaceflight. Williams previously logged 321 days in orbit on two stays aboard the space station, most recently returning to the Earth in 2012.

Boe is a former shuttle pilot; Mann will be making her first trip into space.

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.

Boe's first trip as a pilot was aboard the Endeavour in 2008.

"Safely and reliably flying commercial crew missions for NASA remains the highest priority for SpaceX", Benji Reed, SpaceX's director of crew mission management, said in a statement.

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. And the moon has re-emerged as the pre-eminent space destination under the Trump administration.

But NASA's options may be limited by the global agreements that established the station in 1998. Both Boeing and SpaceX have issues to work out before they can complete their first crewed flights; the 2019 dates are targets and may be optimistic ones at that. Hopkins logged 166 days aboard the space station in 2014.

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