First NASA Space Launch with Private Sector | aerospace | commercial space flight

First NASA Space Launch with Private Sector | aerospace | commercial space flight

First NASA Space Launch with Private Sector | aerospace | commercial space flight

NASA hasn't launched a crew from the United States since it retired its space shuttles in 2011. Eric Boe, Christopher Ferguson and Nicole Aunabu Mann will be the Starliner test flight astronauts once the Orbital Flight Test has been completed successfully. SpaceX is targeting April 2019 for its crewed demonstration flight, Demo-2. It will mark Mann's first trip to space.

More astronaut crew members will be assigned to flight missions in the future, and both mission crews expressed the importance of adding them as soon as possible in order to reduce training challenges for both the crew and training teams.

Douglas Hurley calls Apalachin, New York, his hometown.

Robert (Bob) Behnken is a NASA astronaut who has flown twice on the Endeavour. He began his career at NASA in 2000 and piloted two space shuttle missions, one on Endeavor in 2009 and the final shuttle mission on Atlantis in 2011.

SpaceX's crewed Dragon capsule will launch atop the company's Falcon 9 rocket from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.

After successful completion of the flight tests with a crew, NASA will review flight data to verify that the systems meet the agency's safety and performance certification requirements and are ready to begin regular servicing missions to the space station, the U.S. space agency said. NASA now has a contract to use the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that expires on November 2019, and the agency plans to use Boeing or SpaceX to fill the gap.

Josh Cassada grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. It won't be the first time SpaceX trounces Boeing. He was selected as an astronaut in 2013. Journey on one of the last shuttle missions to witness some final "firsts" made aboard this unique spacecraft.

Sunita Williams was born in Euclid, Ohio, but considers Needham, Massachusetts, her hometown. She came to NASA from the USA navy, where she was a test pilot and retired from the rank of captain. She's also spent 50 hours and 40 minutes on spacewalks, an accomplishment that is second on the list for female astronauts, according to her NASA biography.

Victor Glover is from Pomona, California.

"It's also an opportunity of a lifetime, to be involved in the test and development and then to be there on launch day, and to experience the results of all that hard work" Mann said. Success in these missions means that the Boeing and SpaceX spacecraft could start regular servicing missions to the ISS.

Mike Hopkins: Hopkins was raised on a farm near Richland, Missouri, and he has a master's in aerospace engineering.

NASA will certify the companies for missions towards the ISS if the tests flights are successful.

Williams has spent 322 days in space as part of two expeditions: 14/15 and 32/33.

It's been a long journey for NASA and its commercial partners to get both crew capsules up and running. Similarly, the first Starliner is being now being outfitted for launch at Kennedy Space Center, and the test flight's Atlas V Centaur upper stage-never flown in the dual-engine configuration-ships to Florida in August. This research has led to dramatic improvements in technology, infrastructure and medicine, and thousands of spinoff technologies that have improved quality of life here on Earth.

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