NASA announces new astronaut class

06 August, 2018, 10:25 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • NASA assigns crews to first test flights, missions on commercial spacecraft

NASA today laid out a newly stretched-out schedule for flying astronauts to the International Space Station from USA soil, with SpaceX's first such flight set for no earlier than next April.

Since the space shuttle program was shut down, the USA space agency NASA has had to rely on Russian Federation to fly astronauts to the space station, a $100 billion orbital research laboratory that flies about 250 miles (402 km) above Earth. "With the forward skirt, we are improving and refining how we'll conduct final assembly of the rest of the rocket", Bagdigian said.

"Today, our country's dreams of greater achievements in space are within our grasp", NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said. This will be Ms. Mann's first launch, having joined the astronaut corps in 2013. (BA) to the punch when it comes to flying astronauts to the International Space Station.

Ferguson noted he's been involved with the Boeing capsule since the beginning.

Mr. Behnken, Mr. Boe, Mr. Hurley and Mr. Williams were named in 2015 as NASA's "commercial crew cadre" and have been working with Boeing and SpaceX on the development of the spacecraft and the simulators that will be used to train astronauts to fly.

Boe is a former shuttle pilot; Mann will be making her first trip into space. It will be Mr. Glover's first time in space.

"We're ushering in this new era of American spaceflight". The crewed flight tests will mostly mirror the uncrewed missions, except a flight commander and pilot will be manning each mission once they are ready for a human crew. "Thank you very much-we take it seriously, and we won't let you down".

The Starliner's long-duration operational mission will be crewed by John Cassada, a Navy commander and experienced test pilot.

NASA hasn't launched a crew from the United States since it retired its space shuttles in 2011. Journey on one of the last shuttle missions to witness some final "firsts" made aboard this unique spacecraft. Then, the first crewed launch will be done in the next year's spring or by next summer. Williams will be in the second crew in the Boeing Starliner, which will take them to the ISS. No female astronaut has logged more spacewalk time. In fact, NASA is paying Boeing and SpaceX billions to fly Americans to and from the International Space Station. "That's going to help all of us understand how to live and work in space".


Veteran station flight engineer Mike Hopkins will be accompanied by rookie astronaut Victor Glover on the Crew Dragon's first operational flight to the station. In 2013 and 2014, Hopkins spent almost six months aboard the ISS, logging almost 13 hours of spacewalks. The Boeing Company and SpaceX have developed the test flights and the missions of latest commercial spacecraft will be operated by them.

The space agency has reason to be eager. The spacecraft will dock and undock autonomously to the space station before flying their crew back to Earth. "The nervousness will just melt away when you get into that rocket".

Most have previous experience in orbit.

Despite the fanfare around Friday's presentation, the Commercial Crew program has endured years of delays. NASA says this was actually not a requirement for certifying the vehicles, but both companies opted to perform end-to-end flight tests to ensure the entire integrated system worked properly.

For SpaceX's test flight, NASA assigned Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, both members of several Endeavour and Atlantis missions. But the schedule has repeatedly moved to the right for SpaceX as well as Boeing, due to setbacks ranging from SpaceX's launch pad blow-up in 2016 to Boeing's engine valve problems this June.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon that will be used for Demo-1 arrived at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in July.

These missions are a part of NASA's initiative to use commercial aircraft in its space exploration.

Boeing's first crewed Starliner test flight will be flown by NASA astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Aunapu Mann and Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson in mid-2019.

The companies are running out of buffer. Boeing received a $4.2 billion contract, and SpaceX's was for $2.6 billion.

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