"NASA's Commercial Crew Program will return human spaceflight launches to US soil, providing safe, reliable and cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit on systems that meet our safety and mission requirements", said the official blog. - Alan Shepard, John Young are some of America's first explorers into the great unknown, but Friday NASA will announce who will be America's next space pioneers.
In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office said that further delays in NASA's so-called "Commercial Crew" program could "disrupt access to" the space station, which would be an enormous embarrassment for NASA after investing about $100 billion to build and operate it.
The Boeing crewed test flight, planned for mid-2019, will carry three people, including former NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson, commander of STS-135 and, for the last several years, a Boeing employee working on the Starliner program.More news: Summer heat sizzles Europe: Portugal and Spain could see record temperatures
If those flights are successful, the companies will be certified by NASA for crew rotation missions.
SpaceX and Boeing are shooting for a test flight of their capsules by the end of this year or early next, with the first crews flying from Cape Canaveral, Florida, by next spring or summer. That would include adding a third astronaut to the mission and extending its stay on the station from two weeks to up to six months. The astronauts are (L to R): Victor Glover, Robert Behnken, Michael Hopkins, Douglas Hurley, Eric Boe, Sunita Williams, Christopher Ferguson, Josh Cassada, and Nicole Mann. That is why in 2010 NASA started accepting proposals from commercial companies that were making astronaut transportation systems. NASA astronaut Bob Behnken, an experienced spacewalker who flew on two shuttle missions, will strap into the Crew Dragon alongside former shuttle pilot Doug Hurley. Now the pair will be among those who usher in a new era for NASA.
After years of vehicle development and building anticipation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has now put the crew in commercial crew spacecraft.
Prior to their maiden crewed missions, both Boeing and SpaceX plan uncrewed test flights in late 2018 or early 2019. However, at the announcement companies sounded more confident in those revised schedules.More news: Perez action leads Force India into administration
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell took a photo of the astronauts before assuring them, "We won't let you down". "We had our quarterly [review] this week, and for the first time in years, it felt real".
After announcing the crews, Bridenstine engaged in a largely lighthearted question-and-answer session with the selected astronauts, who expressed their delight in being selected and anticipation in flying on these next-generation vehicles.
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