Louis-area native among astronauts picked for SpaceX launch

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NASA is announcing which astronauts will fly on the first commercial spaceships, now scheduled for next year.

After each company successfully completes its crewed test flight, NASA will begin the final process of certifying that spacecraft and systems for regular crew missions to the space station.

The space agency announced that the nine astronauts will launch on the first crewed test flights and missions of new commercial spacecraft built and operated by The Boeing Company and SpaceX.

NASA has named nine astronauts to crew the first test flights and missions of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule.

Chris Ferguson: While Ferguson has been retired from NASA since 2011, he has worked with Boeing's Starliner program for years, earning him a key post on the first crewed test of the system. Similarly, the first Starliner is being now being outfitted for launch at Kennedy Space Center, and the test flight's Atlas V Centaur upper stage-never flown in the dual-engine configuration-ships to Florida in August. The spacecraft will dock and undock autonomously to the space station before flying their crew back to Earth.

Prior to their maiden crewed missions, both Boeing and SpaceX plan uncrewed test flights in late 2018 or early 2019. He flew on Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2008 with fellow Georgia Tech graduates Sandy Magnus and Shane Kimbrough.

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The first flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon is expected in April 2019, following an unmanned test in November, NASA said. Boeing's and SpaceX's commercial spacecraft may also open the space station - and more broadly, Earth orbit - to more privately-funded visitors and spaceflight participants from countries that do not have their own domestic crewed spacecraft and rockets.

The SpaceX crewed test flight, now scheduled for April 2019, will be flown by NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. They were two of the four astronauts selected by NASA in July 2015 to be trained to fly commercial crew missions.

This will be the first trip into space for Mr. Glover, Mr. Cassada and Ms. Mann.

Bridenstine also introduced the crews of the first missions to the International Space Station by each new craft, which will follow the test flights. Josh Cassada of the Navy, who will be making his first voyage into space. I've watched people and teams come together these last few years, and now we're getting close to space flight. She returned to the ISS as the flight engineer on Expedition 32 in 2012 and then served as commander for Expedition 33. In a statement, the agency said that additional crew members for those first post-certification missions "will be assigned by NASA's global partners at a later date". He has spent 166 days on the International Space Station for Expeditions 37/38, and conducted two spacewalks. Hopkins was a member of Expedition 37 and 38 in 2013 and 2014.

NASA's Commercial Crew Program is facilitating the development of a US 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 launch window for the mission opens at 3:48 a.m EDT on August 11, 2018.

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