Space Agency NASA has revealed the astronauts who will be first to fly on the first American-made, commercial spacecraft to and from the International Space Station next year.
The first manned test flights of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon will be the first time since 2011, when the last Space Shuttle launched, that astronauts have been launched from the USA.
The astronauts for the first test flights are: Sunita Williams, Josh Cassada, Eric Boe, Nicole Mann, Christopher Ferguson, Douglas Hurley, Robert Behnken, Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said, “This accomplished group of American astronauts, flying on new spacecraft developed by our commercial partners Boeing and SpaceX, will launch a new era of human spaceflight.”
Boeing and SpaceX plan to conduct unmanned test flights of the spacecraft during late 2018 or early 2019 and abort system flight tests before the first crewed missions next year.
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon will launch on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
After the successful crewed test flights, NASA will start certification of the spacecraft and rocket systems for regular crew missions to the space station. The agency has contracted six missions with up to four astronauts per mission for each company.
You can read here about how NASA engineers test and develop the spacesuits for its astronauts,