The first US astronauts who will fly on American-made, commercial spacecraft to and from the International Space Station, waving after being announced, (left to right) Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, Nicole Aunapu Mann, Chris Ferguson, Eric Boe, Josh Cassada, and Suni Williamson at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas on August 3.
"This is a big deal for our country, and we want Americans to know that we are back", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told the crowd. Using American-made spacecrafts and launching from the United States soil is a more affordable option for the US. 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.
Williams and crew mate, Josh Cassada will fly the second flight, and first mission, of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner vehicle.
Boe, a veteran NASA astronaut, has logged more than 28 days in space across two Space Shuttle missions. Their mission will launch in mid-2019, if everything goes according to plan.
The first crewed test flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule will include NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. Their mission is scheduled for April 2019. As a naval aviator, she flew combat missions during operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom before becoming a naval test pilot.
On Friday, NASA, along with commercial partners Boeing and SpaceX, named the first commercial crew astronauts selected to fly aboard commercial spacecraft.
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. Robert Behnken, Douglas Hurley, Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will fly with SpaceX.
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At that time, Beijing threatened a 25 percent tariff on US crude imports, although it did not issue a specific date for the move. April 4: China rolls out a listof more than 100 U.S. goods worth roughly $50 billion that are subject to retaliatory tariffs.
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According to CBS News , there are now at least 18 major wildfires throughout the state of California that have killed nine people. Today, though, the president issued a tweet that demonstrated shocking ignorance about California's fires.
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A team of 188 specialist Australian and New Zealand firefighters are also on the ground in California to help battle the blazes. The fire burned slowly for days before winds suddenly whipped it up last week and drove it furiously through brush and timber.
Boeing and SpaceX, though, seem keenly aware of the white-hot spotlight on the program and on America's future in low-Earth orbit. These nine American astronauts will launch on the first missions from American soil in American spacecraft since the Shuttle program ended in 2011.
The move marks a significant shift in the US space program, which will now combine NASA-trained astronauts with private sector space capsules.
"I'm sure that there is at least one Russian language instructor out there who thinks that having me fly a US vehicle is not a awful idea", Cassada said.
"It will be thrilling to see our astronauts lift off from American soil, and we can't wait to see them aboard the ISS", he added.
Glover, who also joined NASA in 2013, summed it up simply. "This is a test pilot's dream". Dragons, meanwhile, will fly on SpaceX's own Falcon 9 rockets.
The Drexel grad said his "fingerprints are all over" the Boeing Starliner, which he and two other crew members, Eric Boe and Nicole Aunapu Mann, are set to launch from Florida.
To qualify for the project, both SpaceX and Boeing must prove that their systems are ready to begin regular flights to the ISS.