NASA announces crew for commercial spaceships

  • NASA announces crew for commercial spaceships

NASA announces crew for commercial spaceships

NASA on Friday announced the first astronauts who will fly into space on US -made commercial spacecraft - which will be the agency's first manned missions in years.

We are going to launch American astronauts from American soil.

After years of vehicle development and building anticipation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has now put the crew in commercial crew spacecraft.

After a almost decadelong hiatus, NASA plans to once again start launching piloted spacecraft from American soil, this time aboard two commercially developed vehicles, beginning in early to mid-2019.

"For the first time since 2011, we are on the brink of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Friday, standing in front of a giant American flag at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The first commercial crew astronauts From left: Sunita Williams, Josh Cassada, Eric Boe, Nicole Mann, Christopher Ferguson, Douglas Hurley, Robert Behnken, Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover.

On the first operational mission to the International Space Station, Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada would fly for Boeing.

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

Victor Glover: Glover was selected as an astronaut in 2013 after a career in the Navy as a test pilot. He has spent 166 days on the International Space Station for Expeditions 37/38, and conducted two spacewalks.

SpaceX later confirmed a successful splashdown, concluding the company's 15th resupply mission to the space station under the space transport company's more than $3 billion, 20-launch cargo contract with NASA.

The new spaceflight capability provided by Boeing and SpaceX will allow NASA to maintain a crew of seven astronauts on the space station, thereby maximizing scientific research that leads to breakthroughs and also aids in understanding and mitigating the challenges of long-duration spaceflight.

SpaceX said it would fly crews by April of next year.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The timetable for the launches was supposed to have been for test flights to take place before the end of 2018, but both companies have faced technical issues that may delay that into 2019.

SpaceX, however, did move up the uncrewed test flight of its Dragon spacecraft from December to November of this year.

NASA seems confident these dates will hold, and that the commercial crew program is finally on the home stretch.

A series of thruster firings propelled the Dragon capsule away from the space station, and the ship's Draco thrusters ignited at 5:23 p.m. EDT (2123 GMT) for a de-orbit burn.

Non-astronaut William Seely, the U.S. Marine Corps director of communication (public affairs), made sure to offer his support and congratulations to NASA astronaut Nicole Mann.

It is on the subsequent missions that the crew capsules will head to the space station and dock.