Trump Hails Astronauts That Will Fly on SpaceX and Boeing Spaceships

08 August, 2018, 21:32 | Author: Rosalie Gross
  • In this illustration a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft approaches the International Space Station for docking

Nine astronauts, including an experienced space veteran from Needham, have been tapped to help shepherd in a new phase of the nation's space program, and will be the first to staff flights and missions in a new crop of commercially made spacecraft. The Dragon capsule was launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 29 and landed at the space station on July 2.

This is the first time since 2011 (when the USA's space shuttle retired) that astronauts will launch from the U.S. soil and from American-made spacecrafts. "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".

NASA made the announcement today (Aug. 3) here at the Johnson Space Center, with the agency revealing the eight agency astronauts and one Boeing astronaut before a cheering crowd of lawmakers, dignitaries and kids waving signs and American flags.

Seven men and four women will be go into orbit on crew capsules built by Boeing and SpaceX.

"The next generation of American spacecraft and rockets that will launch astronauts to the International Space Station are nearing the final stages of development and evaluation".

An unmanned Boeing flight test is scheduled for later this year, while the first flight with the crew is expected to take place in mid-2019, NASA said.

Both Boeing and SpaceX are slightly behind schedule when it comes to their crew vehicles. Space X, the private space company founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk put out Dragon as the first private aircraft to berth with the ISS. A rookie to spaceflight, Cassada was selected by NASA in 2013. Ms. Williams previously logged 321 days in orbit on two stays aboard the space station, most recently returning to the Earth in 2012. Companies like Boeing and SpaceX give the agency the freedom to focus on its deep space human exploration missions and planetary science goals. This mission was the second resupply mission for the Dragon cargo spacecraft and 15 mission for SpaceX in collaboration with NASA.

"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. In between them, the astronauts have decades of space experience, including as members of the now-retired space shuttle.

More astronauts will be announced to join the crews at a later date, Nasa said. Mr. Ferguson will become the first former NASA astronaut to return to orbit as a company's crew member when he flies.

For Mann, a former F-18 test pilot with the Marines, though, this will be her first space flight. The Boeing's first mission will be flown by Josh Cassada and Sunita Williams, and the SpaceX mission by Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will fly aboard the Crew Dragon first mission.

The contracts for travel to the International Space Station were awarded in 2014.

Since her selection as an astronaut in 1998, she has spent 322 days aboard the International Space Station (ISS) for Expeditions 14/15 and Expeditions 32/33, commanded the space station and performed seven spacewalks, the United States space agency said in a statement.

It has been widely reported in the media worldwide that Nasa pays more than $70 million per seat to Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency, to send its astronaut to the ISS using their spacecraft.

NASA has been paying billions of dollars to SpaceX and Boeing to develop the crew capsules to pick up where the shuttles left off, while also paying billions for cargo deliveries to the space station by SpaceX and Northrop Grumman.

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