Meet NASA's new astronauts

Meet NASA's new astronauts

Meet NASA's new astronauts

The space agency announced on Friday that the nine astronauts will launch on the first crewed test flights and missions of new commercial spacecraft built and operated by The Boeing Company and SpaceX.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be the test flight astronauts for SpaceX's Dragon, Bridenstine said. NASA is working with Space X and Boeing to develop the spacecraft.

SpaceX and Boeing are planning a test flight of their capsules by the end of this year or early 2019.

He said the announcement advances "our great American vision" and strengthens America's leadership in space.

Three of the chosen astronauts joined the corps in 2013, which was before the commercial partnership was announced. He, too, has a history on the space shuttle: Ferguson piloted Atlantis for STS-115, was the commander of Endeavour on STS-126, and Atlantis for STS-135, the final space shuttle mission.

"We believe, the earliest time we can confidently do that will be in mid-2019 after flying an uncrewed flight test late this year or early next year", said John Mulholland, vice president and programme manager for Boeing's Commercial Crew effort, in a NASA blogpost. Just as in the past, all human launches will originate here on the space coast.

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The group includes former space shuttle flyers, ex-military test pilots, rookies, and - critically - a cadre of four astronauts who've already been testing and providing feedback on the new commercial ships for years.

For Mann, a former F-18 test pilot with the Marines, though, this will be her first space flight. The selected astronauts, pictured above from left to right, are Sunita Williams, Josh Cassada, Eric Boe, Nicole Mann, Christopher Ferguson, Douglas Hurley, Robert Behnken, Michael Hopkins, and Victor Glover. The agency has contracted six missions, with as many as four astronauts per mission, for each company. American astronauts will be flying American built rockets into space from American soil. He retired from NASA in 2011 and has been an integral part of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner program.

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.

"For the first time since 2011, we are on the brink of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Friday, standing in front of a giant American flag at Johnson Space Center in Houston. 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. She's also spent 50 hours and 40 minutes on spacewalks, an accomplishment that is second on the list for female astronauts, according to her NASA biography.

Since 2011, the United States has relied on Russian Federation to ferry astronauts to the space station. Ms. Williams previously logged 321 days in orbit on two stays aboard the space station, most recently returning to the Earth in 2012. He is a Navy commander, aviator and test pilot with nearly 3,000 hours flying more than 40 different aircraft.

"This is the stuff of dreams ... this is a test pilot's dream", he said.

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