NASA Taps Georgia Tech Alumnus for Historic Space Mission
- Author: Essie Rivera Aug 05, 2018,
Aug 05, 2018, 1:58
They will be the first Americans to launch into space from USA soil since NASA's space shuttle program retired in 2011.Since then, the us has relied on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft to carry Americans space.
United States astronauts now ride on Russian capsules to the space station, with NASA paying as much as $82 million a seat.
"Today, our country's dreams of greater achievements in space are within our grasp", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Chris Ferguson and Marine Corps test pilot Nicole Mann, who will conduct the first Starliner flight test sometime in mid-2019. He flew aboard three shuttle missions, including the program's final mission in 2011. The other commercial crew members are still with NASA.
The test flights and missions aboard Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft, slated for as early as April 2019, will "begin a new era in America spaceflight", the US space agency said. These missions mostly include veterans from the Space Shuttle program, though it will be Aunapu Mann and Cassada's first trips to space.
The missions are expected to take the astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said the company is targeting November for an unmanned test launch of the Crew Dragon atop a Falcon 9 rocket. He was selected by NASA in 2009, and spent 166 days aboard the International Space Station during a mission that launched on a Russian rocket in 2013.
The SpaceX crewed test flight, now scheduled for April 2019, will be flown by NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. He also serves as a Navy commander, naval aviator and was a test pilot.
Suni Williams: Williams grew up in Needham, Massachusetts. Eric Boe, retired Navy Capt.
The demonstration flights by Boeing and SpaceX will spend a short period in orbit before coming straight back to Earth. While in the Air Force, he flew in 55 combat missions over Iraq.
For Crew Dragon, the now confirmed crew includes Navy commander, aviator, and test pilot Victor Glover.
Mike Hopkins: Hopkins was raised on a farm near Richland, Missouri, and he has a master's in aerospace engineering. She has spent 322 days in orbit during two missions to the space station. He is a colonel in the Air Force, where he was a flight test engineer before being selected as a NASA astronaut in 2009. The crews will be split between two of the commercial projects NASA is counting on to make space travel more accessible and, vitally, more affordable.
Additional crew members will be assigned by NASA's global partners at a later date. In any case, SpaceX is now the presumed leader of the race to capture the flag left on the station by the final space shuttle crew-a flag that has been waiting to return to Earth for eight years and counting.