Needham astronaut heading back to space on first commercial flights

NASA SpaceX Boeing cst 100 starliner crew dragon spaceships spacecraft illustration business insider shayanne gal

President Donald Trump fired off a celebratory tweet today to laud NASA's first astronaut crews to fly on private spacecraft built by Boeing and SpaceX, a message that also appeared to hail the president's proposed military Space Force.

The first crewed test flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule will include NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.

NASA has always been working on developing its commercial crew programme while it can focus on its space exploration projects, the report added.

NASA has unveiled the first astronaut crews to fly on private spaceships built by SpaceX and Boeing.

He said the announcement advances "our great American vision" and strengthens America's leadership in space.

Sunita Williams, a veteran astronaut with roots in Needham, is going back into space. Among them are the commander and pilot of the final shuttle mission in 2011.

It was back in September 2014 when NASA first announced that SpaceX and Boeing would fly NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

The agency assigned nine astronauts to crew the first test flight and mission of both Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon. The Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

"As a test pilot it doesn't get any better than this", Mann told the audience, when asked about being the first to fly a new spacecraft.

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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. This will be her first trip to space.

If those flights are successful, the companies will be certified by NASA for crew rotation missions.

NASA's Commercial Crew Program is facilitating the development of a USA commercial crew space transportation capability with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit.

Nasa took the decision after the shuttle retired to turn transportation to low-Earth obit destinations into a service that it could buy.

The two astronauts that the SpaceX company will send later will be Mike Hopkins, who spent 166 days in the space lab, and Victor Glover, who will be making his debut. It has also been paying billions for cargo deliveries to the space station by SpaceX and Northrop Grumman.

Critics say NASA's rocket is too expensive and won't fly enough to be worth the money. In any case, SpaceX is now the presumed leader of the race to capture the flag left on the station by the final space shuttle crew-a flag that has been waiting to return to Earth for eight years and counting.

Since the space shuttle program was shut down, the United States space agency has had to rely on Russian Federation to fly astronauts to the space station, a $100-billion orbital research laboratory that flies about 402 kilometers above Earth. SpaceX aims to launch an uncrewed test flight in November of this year, with a Boeing test flight scheduled for late 2018 or early 2019.

"This accomplished group of American astronauts, flying on new spacecraft developed by our commercial partners Boeing and SpaceX, will launch a new era of human spaceflight", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said of the selections. When he was in high school, Ferguson became "intrigued" with joining the Navy and flying jets, he said.

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