Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams set to create a new milestone

07 August, 2018, 12:55 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Boeing Test Flights Delayed Again: The CST-100 Starliner Might Be Tested Next Year

According to NASA website, Williams - a veteran of two space mission expeditions - is now training for the first post-certification mission of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft - the second crewed flight for that vehicle - and her third long duration mission aboard the International Space Station.

"Rockets are fun. I'll be ready, I can't wait", Williams said in an interview posted Friday on the International Space Station Facebook page.

"Predicting launch dates can make a liar out of every one of us", acknowledged Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX.

"Space has transformed the American way of life", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein said at the event. American astronauts have still traveled to space, but they've used Russia's Soyuz spacecraft at a cost of about $80 million per seat. "A small investment from the American taxpayer has paid dividends to the point now where space has transformed the lives of not only every American, but every person on the face of the planet in so many ways that people usually don't even recognize it". NASA astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Aunapu Mann are slated for the test flight of Boeing's Starliner, accompanied by former NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson, who now works as a commercial astronaut for Boeing.

NASA started the Commercial Crew Program in 2010, just before it retired the last space shuttle in July 2011. He served more than 24 years in the US Marine Corps as a fighter pilot and a test pilot. Mann's flight with Boeing will be her first to space.

"It's absolutely the opportunity of a lifetime", said Mann. "As a test pilot, it doesn't get any better than this".

The team will fly on a spacecraft developed by the Elon Musk-owned SpaceX's Crew Dragon and a global aviation firm-Boeing's CST-100 Starliner.

Boe, a Miami native, was selected to the astronaut corps in 2000 and flew as pilot on Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-126 and as part of Space Shuttle Discovery's final flight, STS-133. Thank you. We take it very seriously.

On the first operational mission to the International Space Station, Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada would fly for Boeing. He has flown to space twice before this, both on space shuttle missions.

Some of the newly named crew, like Cassada, joined NASA expecting to fly on Soyuz spacecraft before any new American ship. Williams has already spent more than 300 days in space.

"The first flight is something you dream about as a test pilot, and you don't think it's ever going to happen to you", Doug Hurley said. "Each test flight will provide data on the performance of the rockets, spacecraft, ground systems, and operations to ensure the systems are safe to fly astronauts", explained NASA in the statement. She came to NASA from the USA navy, where she was a test pilot and retired from the rank of captain. He's performed six spacewalks totaling almost 40 hours. By naming crews, NASA is signaling its belief that these astronauts will fly sometime soon.

The space agency has reason to be eager.

NASA's continuous presence on the space station for nearly 18 years has enabled technology demonstrations and research in biology and biotechnology, Earth and space science, human health, physical sciences.

In this illustration, a Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is shown in low-Earth orbit.

Despite the fanfare around Friday's presentation, the Commercial Crew program has endured years of delays. NASA worked closely with the companies to engineer both spacecraft. A NASA press release says more crew members may be added to those flights later.

Boeing is now working through technical issues with its abort and parachute systems.

Earlier this year, NASA unveiled a commercial crew schedule that called for the first uncrewed test flights by SpaceX and Boeing this month. Boeing's uncrewed test flight will slip to the end of 2018, and its crewed test will launch in mid-2019.

The companies are running out of buffer.

After that, the companies move on to actual missions. Mr. Hopkins logged 166 days aboard the space station in 2014. He was selected as an astronaut in 2013.



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