These Astronauts Will Fly SpaceX, Boeing Spacecraft to the ISS

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These Astronauts Will Fly SpaceX, Boeing Spacecraft to the ISS

The three pioneers will help restore American access to space from US soil, a capability that ended when the shuttle was retired seven years ago. Since then, the space agency has turned to private space firms, like SpaceX, to oversee cargo runs to the ISS, while sending U.S. astronauts there on Russian rockets.

NASA on Thursday said it expects SpaceX to fly its first astronauts in April of 2019 and Boeing will follow, launching astronauts into space in the middle of next year. The missions will likely include veterans from the US' Space Shuttle program, Gizmodo reported.

Also, flying on the first crewed test flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft will be Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. That flight is now projected to lift off in April of 2019.

Additional crew members will be assigned by NASA's global partners at a later date.

"As a test pilot, it doesn't get any better than this", she added. "But you know, it looks like it might".

On Boeing's first post-certification mission, NASA astronaut Suni Williams, who has flown on the space station two times already, will fly to the outpost again with first-time space flier Josh Cassada.

The two astronauts that the SpaceX company will send later will be Mike Hopkins, who spent 166 days in the space lab, and Victor Glover, who will be making his debut.

It's been a long trip for these astronauts.

Until now, NASA built and operated all the spacecrafts to carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft will launch aboard an Atlas V rocket from the Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Those were Behnken, Boe, Hurley and Williams.

Trump wasn't the only one heralding NASA's commercial crew announcement today.

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. He flew on Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2008 with fellow Georgia Tech graduates Sandy Magnus and Shane Kimbrough.

Since the shuttle was retired seven years ago, US astronauts have had to fly on Russian rockets from a remote launch site in Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, the space agency has turned its attention to developing the Space Launch System launch vehicle and Orion spacecraft that could travel to the Moon or Mars.

Williams said in Friday's interview that the new mission was "a test pilot's dream". But it had been working to resolve an issue with its second stage that caused one of its Falcon 9 rockets to explode while it was being fueled ahead of an engine test. He retired from NASA in 2011 and has been an integral part of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner program. The crewed test flights have slipped to 2019.

Those launch targets may change. Boeing's uncrewed test flight will slip to the end of 2018, and its crewed test will launch in mid-2019. The test flight with crew is scheduled for mid-2019. But that changed Thursday (Aug. 2) when NASA rolled out a set of new launch targets.

The first manned flights were initially supposed to take place in 2018. In the meantime, NASA will still rely on Russian Federation to keep Americans flying in space.

"If neither Boeing nor SpaceX are ready to fly by November 2019, the US risks a gap in access to the ISS", says Chaplain. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, she said, founded the company in 2002 to build the safest and most reliable spacecraft possible.

American space, at a ceremony to present the nine astronauts (seven men and two women) from Houston, Texas. "We take it seriously. We won't let you down".

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