NASA Announces First Crew for Commercial Space Travel

Here's Why Boeing Used an Inflatable Spaceship to Test'Starliner Landing Recovery Plans

Here's Why Boeing Used an Inflatable Spaceship to Test'Starliner Landing Recovery Plans

"This accomplished group of American astronauts, flying on new spacecraft developed by our commercial partners Boeing and SpaceX, will launch a new era of human spaceflight". Suni Williams, who is best known for running the Boston Marathon on an ISS treadmill, will be joined by rookie astronaut Josh Cassada. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley would fly on the first human test flight of SpaceX's Dragon capsule.

Mr. Behnken, Mr. Boe, Mr. Hurley and Mr. Williams were named in 2015 as NASA's "commercial crew cadre" and have been working with Boeing and SpaceX on the development of the spacecraft and the simulators that will be used to train astronauts to fly.

SpaceX and Boeing are planning a test flight of their capsules by the end of this year or early 2019. "Today's announcement advances our great American vision and strengthens the nation's leadership in space".

Four of the five astronauts named to the first Crew Dragon and Starliner flights are spaceflight veterans. Among them are the commander and pilot of the final shuttle mission in 2011. Ever since the Space Shuttle Program ended, American astronauts have been paying for seats on Russia's Soyuz capsules to make it to the International Space Station where they live and work for a span of six months.

The crew for the test flight of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner will be NASA astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Aunapu Mann flying with Boeing employee and former NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson. "To meet NASA's requirements, the commercial providers must demonstrate that their systems are ready to begin regular flights to the space station".

White House chief of staff to stick around for now
A Republican close to the White House also referred to Kelly as a "chief of staff in name only", according to the news outlet . A senior administration official confirmed Kelly's announcement, first reported by The Wall Street Journal .

These US astronauts previously flew aboard Russian spacecraft to get to the ISS.

NASA has been collaborating with commercial space companies for years, with the goal of having the private sector take over "routine" trips to the space station and low Earth orbit. Since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011, the USA has been relying on Russian Soyuz rockets, launched from Kazakhstan, to get astronauts to the ISS. He is a Navy commander, aviator and test pilot with nearly 3,000 hours flying more than 40 different aircraft. Ferguson, the Boeing astronaut, flew three shuttle missions, and has logged more than 40 days in space. In light of that, watching them train and then fly these missions over the next year or so should be fun for all involved.

On Friday, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine introduced the nine astronauts, who will fly on the first four crewed missions using the new craft. In any case, SpaceX is now the presumed leader of the race to capture the flag left on the station by the final space shuttle crew-a flag that has been waiting to return to Earth for eight years and counting.

In this illustration, a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft approaches the International Space Station for docking. He also serves as a Navy commander, naval aviator and was a test pilot.

For SpaceX, a demonstration flight with no passengers is set for November 2018, and the first manned flight set for April 2019. He has spent 166 days on the International Space Station for Expeditions 37/38, and conducted two spacewalks.

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