NASA names crews and dates for first USA commercial missions
08 August, 2018, 21:31 | Author: Courtney Reynolds
Ferguson, who grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and graduated from Archbishop Ryan High School and Drexel University, is one of nine astronauts chosen by NASA to fly to and from the International Space Station on commercial spacecraft made by Boeing and SpaceX next year.
Nasa on Friday named the first nine astronauts who will fly to space on Boeing and SpaceX vehicles in 2019 - a mix of novices and veterans who are tasked with restoring America's ability to send humans into orbit.
"For the first time since 2011, we are on the brink of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a ceremony at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. 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.
"NASA is empowering private industry to gain solid footing in low-Earth orbit, which will allow NASA to explore new frontiers in deep space", said Jon Cowart, acting deputy manager for the Commercial Crew Program's Mission Management and Integration office at the Kennedy Space Center. NASA now has a contract to use the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that expires on November 2019, and the agency plans to use Boeing or SpaceX to fill the gap.
"What an exciting and wonderful day", Jim Bridenstine, NASA's administrator, said at the announcement at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
He said the announcement advances "our great American vision" and strengthens America's leadership in space. He began his career at NASA in 2000 and piloted two space shuttle missions, one on Endeavor in 2009 and the final shuttle mission on Atlantis in 2011.
The crew for the test flight of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner will be NASA astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Aunapu Mann flying with Boeing employee and former NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson. Mann is a U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and pilot of the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet, while Boe is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who was a test pilot on the Boeing F-15.
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.
"It will be thrilling to see our astronauts lift off from American soil, and we can't wait to see them aboard the International Space Station", Mr. Geyer said. The cargo missions started in 2012.
But NASA's options may be limited by the worldwide agreements that established the station in 1998. A NASA press release says more crew members may be added to those flights later. The Dragon capsule was launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 29 and landed at the space station on July 2. He is a Navy commander and test pilot with more than 3,500 flight hours in more than 40 aircraft.
"This is the stuff of dreams ... this is a test pilot's dream", he said. She has spent 322 days in orbit during two missions to the space station.
Victor Glover: Glover is a native of Pomona, California and he has three master's degrees.
Mike Hopkins: Hopkins was raised on a farm near Richland, Missouri, and he has a master's in aerospace engineering.
Glover will partner with NASA veteran Mike Hopkins, 49, who spent 166 days aboard the space station in 2014, during their mission aboard the Crew Dragon capsule.
After years of vehicle development and building anticipation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has now put the crew in commercial crew spacecraft.
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