Nasa names astronauts for first commercial flights

NASA will name 1st astronauts to fly commercial spacecraft to International Space Station

NASA introduced to the world on Friday the first US astronauts who will fly on American-made, commercial spacecraft to and from the International Space Station - an endeavor that will return astronaut launches to USA soil for the first time since the space shuttle's retirement in 2011.

The crew will be the first group of American astronauts to go to space from American soil since NASA retired its Space Shuttle Program in 2011.

"This is a big deal for our country", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in front of an enormous USA flag at Johnson Space Center in Houston during a ceremony punctuated by raucous cheers.

NASA announced Friday a mix of spaceflight veterans and rookie astronauts who will launch on the first flights of new Boeing and SpaceX commercial spaceships starting as soon as next spring, several months later than previously scheduled.

NASA made the announcement today (Aug. 3) here at the Johnson Space Center, with the agency revealing the eight agency astronauts and one Boeing astronaut before a cheering crowd of lawmakers, dignitaries and kids waving signs and American flags.

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's 30-year space shuttle program came to a close in 2011 so the space agency could focus on bigger journeys, like a mission to Mars.

"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.

Pioneering flights to the International Space Station aboard commercially built crew capsules will be the first leaving United States soil to put people into orbit.

When test flights do launch, Boeing's flight is dubbed Orbital Flight Test followed by Crew Flight Test. SpaceX's first flight is dubbed Demonstration Mission 1 followed by Demonstration Mission 2. Former chief astronaut Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley - who served as co-pilot on the final shuttle mission - will fly on SpaceX's Dragon during its first manned flight. It would be the first space trip for Mann.

Check out the video below to see what the nine astronauts had to say after NASA appointed them for the first commercial missions to take off from American ground in USA -made spacecraft since 2011. While both companies had recently said they would conduct their first test flights with astronauts on board by the end of this year, those flights are now scheduled for 2019.

The two astronauts that the SpaceX company will send later will be Mike Hopkins, who spent 166 days in the space lab, and Victor Glover, who will be making his debut. Beyond its own contract with Russia, NASA was able to secure five more seats through an arrangement with Boeing, which obtained them as part of compensation for an unrelated joint space venture (Sea Launch) it had with the Russian company that also builds Soyuz (Energia). He also serves as a Navy commander, naval aviator and was a test pilot.

Only seven astronauts in history have been the first to fly on a brand-new USA spacecraft.

Prior to their maiden crewed missions, both Boeing and SpaceX plan uncrewed test flights in late 2018 or early 2019.

The first crewed flights will only spend a short period of time in orbit before coming back to Earth. (BA) to the punch when it comes to flying astronauts to the International Space Station.

The nine astronauts, most with previous experience in orbit, will ride the SpaceX Dragon and Boeing Starliner capsules to the International Space Station.

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