NASA Just Announced the First 9 Astronauts of SpaceX and Boeing's New Crew-carrying Missions

The nine men and women assigned to the first missions of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon were introduced in a ceremony webcast live.

NASA Just Announced the First 9 Astronauts of SpaceX and Boeing's New Crew-carrying Missions
From left: Suni Williams, Josh Cassada, Eric Boe, Nicole Mann, Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Bob Behnken, Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover NASA

NASA announced today the nine American astronauts who will launch from US soil to the International Space Station (ISS) for the first time since 2011. The crew is assigned to the first flight tests and missions of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon.

Nine astronauts introduced

The event was webcast live and was presided by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. The nine men and women assigned to the new missions all came on stage for the ceremony and then proceeded to answer fan questions in a Reddit Ask Me Anything.

Eric Boe, Chris Ferguson and Nicole Mann were revealed as the crew who will be on Boeing’s crew flight test aboard its Starliner spacecraft targeted to launch in mid-2019. Meanwhile, Josh Cassada and Suni Williams have been assigned to Boeing’s first post-certification mission.

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were then presented as the astronauts who will be on board SpaceX’s Crew Dragon demo mission 2 targeted to launch in April 2019. Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins will handle the first post-certification mission. 

A new generation of crew-carrying crafts

The Starliner and Crew Dragon are part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program currently cooperating with the American aerospace industry to develop a new generation of crew-carrying spacecraft. The aim is to bring forth the systems that will carry crews safely to and from low-Earth orbit in order to contribute to the expansion of ISS' research and discovery activities.

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The ISS has been, is and will remain critical for NASA's work on long-duration spaceflight as well as missions related to the Moon, Mars and other planets. Boeing and SpaceX were selected in September 2014 as the companies who would have the privilege to transport NASA's astronauts to the orbiting laboratory.

The new schedule of launches will see up to four astronauts carried to the ISS at a time ensuring the station's crew of seven is always maintained.

The missions are meant to maximize the time the astronauts can dedicate to research in space, getting humanity further closer to the final frontier.

Via: NASA