"We are on the brink of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil", NASA posted on Twitter, quoting Administrator Jim Bridenstine during the Launch America announcement.
"We're ushering in this new era of American spaceflight". In December, Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1 to set the moon as NASA's next goal for astronauts. NASA astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Aunapu Mann, along with Boeing's company astronaut Christopher Ferguson, will fly on the Boeing Starliner test flight.
Glover is the fourth Cal Poly graduate to become an astronaut. He's previously spent more than 40 days in space for NASA during three shuttle missions, but he retired from the federal organization and joined Boeing in 2011. He came to NASA from the Air Force, where he was a fighter pilot and test pilot and rose to the rank of colonel. The latter as termed by IBM was touted "the first AI companion of human beings in space". "As a test pilot, it doesn't get any better than this". It turns out NASA's much-awaited Commercial Crew Program will see its first Boeing crewed flight mid-2019 and its SpaceX one as early as April 2019. Glover was selected by NASA in 2013, and his mission with SpaceX will mark his first time in space.
The nine astronauts, most with previous experience in orbit, will ride the SpaceX Dragon and Boeing Starliner capsules to the International Space Station. Journey on one of the last shuttle missions to witness some final "firsts" made aboard this unique spacecraft. No female astronaut has logged more spacewalk time. "(I'm) going, 'Wow, I hope I'm going to make you proud'". "That's going to help all of us understand how to live and work in space".
SpaceX's first NASA mission to the ISS, in turn, will include Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins.
When Glover left San Luis Obispo almost 20 years ago, he joined the U.S. Navy and began his career as a Naval Aviator and test pilot. He's performed six spacewalks totaling almost 40 hours.
NASA has unveiled the first astronaut crews to fly on private spaceships built by SpaceX and Boeing.
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As for being the only non-NASA guy on board, Ferguson explained later during a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" program that Boeing always uses company test pilots for first flights "and the Starliner is no exception".
The space agency has reason to be eager. Since then, the space agency has turned to private space firms, like SpaceX, to oversee cargo runs to the ISS, while sending U.S. astronauts there on Russian rockets. And NASA could not be more excited.
Despite the fanfare around Friday's presentation, the Commercial Crew program has endured years of delays.
Maintaining the International Space Station costs the federal government up to $4 billion a year, and NASA is working on plans to privatize it.
Boeing Rotocraft Systems issued the following announcement on August 3. Boeing's dates recently slipped after a problem during a test of the Starliner's abort system engines in June. The crewed flight tests will mostly mirror the uncrewed missions, except a flight commander and pilot will be manning each mission once they are ready for a human crew. If successful, the crewed flight tests will follow hopefully leading to NASA certifications for crew rotation missions.
The companies are running out of buffer. While there's talk of pushing NASA's last Soyuz return to January 2020, the space agency won't extend the Soyuz agreement forever. Boe was selected by NASA to be an astronaut in 2000.
"If neither Boeing nor SpaceX are ready to fly by November 2019, the USA risks a gap in access to the ISS", says Chaplain.