Blend of novices, veterans to fly on first private U.S. spaceships

Blend of novices, veterans to fly on first private U.S. spaceships

Blend of novices, veterans to fly on first private U.S. spaceships

Washington- Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams is among the nine astronauts named by NASA on Friday for its first human spaceflight programme from the United States soil since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011. Boeing's uncrewed test flight will slip to the end of 2018, and its crewed test will launch in mid-2019.

The agency assigned nine astronauts, including Sunita Williams, to crew the first test flight, who according to Mark Geyer, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, "are at the forefront of this exciting new time for human spaceflight".

"The opportunity to fly in a new vehicle is any test pilot and astronaut's dream", Mike Hopkins, an Air Force colonel who will fly aboard the Crew Dragon on its first mission, wrote on Twitter. Josh Cassada and Sunita Williams will crew the Starliner's first mission, while Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will fly aboard the Crew Dragon first mission. He retired from NASA after commanding the final shuttle mission in 2011, and eventually joined Boeing to help develop Starliner.

There were reports that Chris Ferguson, a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot and a Boeing employee at present, will fly the Starliner for its crewed flight test. Ferguson piloted the Atlantis mission to the ISS in September 2006.

NASA has worked closely with the companies throughout design, development and testing to ensure the systems meet its safety and performance requirements.

U.S. President Donald Trump welcomed the news, and tweeted, " NASA, which is making a BIG comeback under the Trump Administration, has just named 9 astronauts for Boeing and SpaceX space flights.

SpaceX is targeting November 2018 for Crew Dragon's first uncrewed demonstration mission (Demo-1), three months later than the previous schedule released by NASA early this year.

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. Since then, every nation on Earth has relied on Russian Federation to get to the International Space Station. The test launch will be her first trip to space.

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.

It is true, however, that SpaceX and Boeing are paying to use some facilities owned by NASA and the U.S. Air Force.

Ferguson isn't now a NASA employee, though he served as an astronaut from 1998 to 2011 and commanded the final Space Shuttle mission.

"If neither Boeing nor SpaceX are ready to fly by November 2019, the US risks a gap in access to the ISS", says Chaplain. The cargo missions started in 2012. Once the spacecraft is attached to the space station, it's created to stay there for 210 days. He also commanded two more spaceflights in 2008. The group includes eight current NASA astronauts and one Boeing astronaut.

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