NASA names astronauts for first manned U.S. space launches since 2011

NASA assigns astronauts to first commercial crew missions

"NASA's Commercial Crew Program will return human spaceflight launches to US soil, providing safe, reliable and cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit on systems that meet our safety and mission requirements", said the official blog.

On the first operational mission to the International Space Station, Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada would fly for Boeing.

Boe is one of nine people who were named as commercial crew astronauts during a ceremony Friday at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

SpaceX and Boeing are shooting for a test flight of their capsules by the end of this year or early next, with the first crews flying from Cape Canaveral, Florida, by next spring or summer.

Boeing's first Starliner crew will include a former NASA astronaut who commanded the last shuttle flight in 2011, Chris Ferguson, who is now a Boeing employee.

Behnken, Hurley, Boe and Mann are Nasa's first astronauts to be named to the test flights of new United States spacecraft since the March 1978 announcement of the space shuttle's first orbital flight test crews. American astronauts will be flying American built rockets into space from American soil.

NASA has been collaborating with commercial space companies for years, with the goal of having the private sector take over "routine" trips to the space station and low Earth orbit.

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.

The crew missions have been delayed repeatedly because of the technical challenges and difficulties of making spacecraft safe for humans.

England opts to bat vs India in 2nd ODI; teams unchanged
Despite the run rate creeping over 10, the former Indian skipper took plenty of time to settle and could not get his eye in. The stars of the match were Kuldeep and Rohit, who thrashed hosts batsmen and bowlers through out the match.

The return of crew flights to US soil will end NASA's politically inconvenient reliance on Russian Federation for transporting astronauts to the ISS.

In 2019, SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner are both scheduled to blast off on test flights with NASA astronauts on board. Boeing most recently suffered a problem while testing its emergency abort system and its first test flight has been delayed until at least mid-2019.

"NASA is continuing to assess multiple scenarios to ensure continued US access to the International Space Station", the space agency told Bloomberg. The astronauts are (L to R): Victor Glover, Robert Behnken, Michael Hopkins, Douglas Hurley, Eric Boe, Sunita Williams, Christopher Ferguson, Josh Cassada, and Nicole Mann.

The successful flight marked the scheduled end of the 30-year space shuttle program.

For the past seven years NASA astronauts have hitched rides to the orbiting outpost on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft, at a cost of some $80 million a seat. Once they receive the certification, NASA expects the companies to launch as many as six crews to the International Space Station.

When you think about who's in charge of cutting-edge spaceflight in 2018, SpaceX is probably the first name that comes to mind.

"The Mercury 7 and the crews that we just announced - that same spirit is there", he said.

The contracts for travel to the International Space Station were awarded in 2014. The Crew Dragon will launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

A commercial Dragon cargo craft launched June 29 departed the International Space Station and returned to Earth on Friday with almost two tons of cargo and research samples.

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