Published: Sat, August 04, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

What We Know About the 9 Astronauts Flying the New Commercial Ships

What We Know About the 9 Astronauts Flying the New Commercial Ships

The five astronauts assigned to the first flights gathered Friday at Johnson Space Center in Houston for the announcement.

NASA has assigned the astronauts who will ride the first commercial capsules into orbit next year and bring human launches back to the U.S.

The crews will travel to the International Space Station aboard two commercial spacecraft that Boeing and SpaceX plan to send into the stratosphere sometime during the coming year.

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. SpaceX is targeting November for its inaugural Crew Dragon test flight, but Boeing won't launch its passenger spacecraft Starliner until late this year or early next.

"The first flight is something you dream about as a test pilot", said Hurley, who flew on the last shuttle mission. The agency has contracted six missions, with as many as four astronauts per mission, for each company. Since the shuttle fleet's retirement in 2011, the only spaceship cleared for carrying people to the station has been Russia's Soyuz spacecraft, and the ticket price for NASA is in the range of $80 million a seat. He flew aboard three shuttle missions, including the program's final mission in 2011. - 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. The first astronauts to fly to the International Space Station aboard privately developed and built commercial spacecraft will be announced by NASA today. Boeing and Space Adventures, the USA company that arranged space tourist flights on Russian Soyuz spacecraft, have a partnership that could allow paying passengers to ride in a fifth seat on CST-100 missions for shorter-duration missions.

If those flights are successful, the companies will be certified by NASA for crew rotation missions. The astronauts are (L to R): Victor Glover, Robert Behnken, Michael Hopkins, Douglas Hurley, Eric Boe, Sunita Williams, Christopher Ferguson, Josh Cassada, and Nicole Mann.

Two companies have NASA contracts to provide flights to the ISS between 2019 and 2024: SpaceX and Boeing ba .

She made headlines in 2007 for being the first person to run a full marathon in space. But while the newly announced crews are excited to once again launch from Florida instead of Kazakhstan, they aren't very nostalgic for the hardware of the shuttles themselves.

Both companies will also conduct abort system test flights to ensure the astronauts can safely escape should their rockets go awry.

SpaceX's Post-Certification Mission for the Crew Dragon Team Victor Glover (left) and Mike Hopkins (right). 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.

The Starliner will launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, and the Dragon will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center about 10 miles away.

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