NASA announces first astronaut crew to ride SpaceX, Boeing spaceships

Pablo Tucker
August 8, 2018

The astronauts will fly on the spacecraft developed by Elon Musk-owned SpaceX's Crew Dragon and global aviation firm Boeing's CST-100 Starliner, as part of the United States space agency's Commercial Crew programme to send humans to the ISS on private U.S. spacecraft. The race to get astronauts to the space station first is real; a US flag that flew on the first space shuttle flight in 1981 and the last shuttle flight in 2011, awaits the victor.

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.

After the crewed test flights, NASA plans to certify the Crew Dragon and Starliner as safe for operational missions carrying four-person crews by late 2019 or early 2020.

From left to right NASA Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley
From left to right NASA Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley

As for being the only non-NASA guy on board, Ferguson explained later during a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" program that Boeing always uses company test pilots for first flights "and the Starliner is no exception". Glover was selected by NASA in 2013, and his mission with SpaceX will mark his first time in space.

NASA named nine astronauts who will be on the first space flights launched from U.S. soil since the shuttle program ended in 2011. "It will be thrilling to see our astronauts lift off from American soil, and we can't wait to see them aboard the International Space Station".

Meanwhile, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recommended NASA pursue a backup plan for getting astronauts to the ISS, as its contract with Russian Federation to send them to the station via Soyuz launches in Kazakhstan ends at the close of 2019. Astronauts Sunita Williams, Doug Hurley, Bob Behnken and Eric Boe have spent the past three years working with Boeing and SpaceX on their commercial crew spaceships. This will be Ms. Mann's first launch, having joined the astronaut corps in 2013. The first mission has been tasked to Josh Cassada (first time in space) and Sunita Williams, ISS astronaut.

The crews would fly on spacecraft developed not by NASA, but by two corporations, SpaceX and Boeing, which are under contract to provide a taxi-like service to the International Space Station.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, NASA promised to break the suspense and let us know who are the first astronauts that get to test out SpaceX's and Boeing's brand-new passenger pods.

President Donald Trump fired off a celebratory tweet today to laud NASA's first astronaut crews to fly on private spacecraft built by Boeing and SpaceX, a message that also appeared to hail the president's proposed military Space Force. That is why in 2010 NASA started accepting proposals from commercial companies that were making astronaut transportation systems.

NASA has announced the names of the astronauts who will be the first people in history to ride to orbit in private space taxis next year, if all goes as planned. Ferguson is a former NASA astronaut and space shuttle commander who now works on Boeing's Starliner program. He also serves as a Navy commander, naval aviator and was a test pilot.

Since the shuttle was retired seven years ago, American astronauts have had to fly on Russian rockets from a remote launch site in Kazakhstan.

NASA says that its astronauts will be joined by other worldwide crew members, to be announced later on.

Other reports by iNewsToday