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NASA announces crew for first commercial space flights

07 August 2018

The first astronauts to fly to the International Space Station aboard privately developed and built commercial spacecraft will be announced by NASA today.

"Space has transformed the American way of life", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during the event. The competition asked private spaceflight companies to develop new astronaut-ready spacecraft - and Boeing and SpaceX emerged as top winners.

NASA has chosen Northeast Philly native and Drexel grad Chris Ferguson to lead crew members on a first-of-its-kind journey to the International Space Station next year.

Glover is the fourth Cal Poly graduate to become an astronaut.

A recent mission abort by Boeing resulted from leaking engine fuel, and U.S. astronauts have until now taken Russian Federation capsules to the space station - at a cost of up to $82m for a seat. It will mark Mann's first trip to space.

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"It's absolutely the opportunity of a lifetime", said Mann.

One of those is SpaceX, Elon Musk's company, which will launch Crew Dragon, while the other is Boeing's Starliner project.

The nine astronauts - seven men and two women - waved and pumped their fists into the air as they appeared on stage to cheers from the crowd. Thank you. We take it very seriously.

3 the assignment of eight agency astronauts, a mix of veterans and rookies, as well as one company astronaut to fly on the first set of commercial crew missions by Boeing and SpaceX.

The first Starliner post-certification mission, yet to be formally scheduled, will fly NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Sunita Williams. He piloted space shuttle Endeavor for STS-127 and Atlantis for STS-135, the final space shuttle mission. The crews will be the first to venture into the final frontier from Florida on American-made ships since 2011. "The first flight is something you dream about as a test pilot", Hurley said. He's spent almost 29 days in space. "I look forward, sir, to getting you down there at some point out in Hawthorne [SpaceX's California headquarters] and maybe you can sit next to us in the cockpit and go through flying the iPhone to dock to space station". "That's going to help all of us understand how to live and work in space". He has performed six spacewalks.

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NASA is just as thrilled as Boeing and SpaceX to launch a new era of partnership with commercial entities and flying commercial spacecraft, so long as it stays afloat.

Then, in July 2015, NASA offered another nugget: Four of its astronauts had been tapped to start training on SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's Starliner.

The space agency has reason to be eager.

Boeing's and SpaceX's commercial spacecraft may also open the space station - and more broadly, Earth orbit - to more privately-funded visitors and spaceflight participants from countries that do not have their own domestic crewed spacecraft and rockets.

NASA's investment also aims to boost private industry, which has flocked into low-Earth orbit in recent years for tourism, the satellite industry, and more. But both partners have suffered delays that will end up totaling at least three years.

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Last week, Boeing confirmed that it had a problem with its launch abort system, which is created to ferry crews to safety in the event of an emergency. SpaceX is trying to fix design issues with gas vessels and cracks in its engine turbines, and it's working to ensure that its rocket fueling process-which calls for filling the rockets while astronauts are on board-is sufficiently safe.

NASA announces crew for first commercial space flights