Sunita Williams, 8 others to fly on Boeing, SpaceX spacecraft
05 August, 2018, 02:00 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
Suni Williams, who is best known for running the Boston Marathon on an ISS treadmill, will be joined by rookie astronaut Josh Cassada.
"The opportunity to fly in a new vehicle is any test pilot and astronaut's dream", Mike Hopkins, an Air Force colonel who will fly aboard the Crew Dragon on its first mission, wrote on Twitter.
The new spaceflight capability provided by Boeing and SpaceX will allow NASA to maintain a crew of seven astronauts on the space station, thereby maximizing scientific research that leads to breakthroughs and also aids in understanding and mitigating the challenges of long-duration spaceflight. John Mulholland, vice president and program manager for Boeing's Commercial Crew effort, explained that the earliest the company can "confidently" do a manned flight test will be in mid-2019. "Today's announcement advances our great American vision and strengthens the nation's leadership in space".
"For astronauts getting ready to be assigned a flight, I really look towards the Swiss Army knife if you will". He is a retired Navy captain, who piloted space shuttle Atlantis for STS-115, and commanded shuttle Endeavour on STS-126 and Atlantis for the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program, STS-135.
Mr. Behnken, Mr. Hurley, Mr. Boe and Ms. Mann are NASA's first astronauts to be named to the test flights of new USA spacecraft since the March 1978 announcement of the space shuttle's first orbital flight test crews.
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The US space agency, meanwhile, is working on building rockets and spacecraft that could allow humans to return to the Moon in the coming decade. It will be Mr. Glover's first time in space. They were two of the four astronauts selected by NASA in July 2015 to be trained to fly commercial crew missions.
The first crew to be presented was that of the BoeingStarliner capsule, which will make a trial flight scheduled for mid-2019 and will be boosted into space from Florida's Kennedy Space Center by an Atlas V rocket of the United Launch Alliance. The astronauts will travel in the new Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon.
Leading up to the a ceremony at the Johnson Space Center here, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said it was a historic moment for the space agency, saying: "We are going to launch American astronauts from American soil". He's spent almost 29 days in space. SpaceX's first operational flight to the space station will also be Glover's first flight to space.
"NASA is continuing to assess multiple scenarios to ensure continued US access to the International Space Station", the space agency told Bloomberg.
For Crew Dragon, the now confirmed crew includes Navy commander, aviator, and test pilot Victor Glover.
Crew for each flight will include at least a flight commander and a pilot. The capsules, made by SpaceX and Boeing, will ferry the astronauts and cargo back and forth to the International Space Station.
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