Meanwhile, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recommended NASA pursue a backup plan for getting astronauts to the ISS, as its contract with Russian Federation to send them to the station via Soyuz launches in Kazakhstan ends at the close of 2019. Some, however, deem that target ambitious.
"What an exciting and awesome day", Jim Bridenstine, NASA's administrator, said at the announcement at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The space agency selected eight of its finest active astronauts, plus one retired astronaut, from a wide array of backgrounds.
The manned test flight from Boeing will feature one NASA astronaut and one Boeing employee, most likely former astronaut Chris Ferguson. Boeing said only that it would fly NASA's astronauts by sometime in the middle of next year.
"The station is critical for NASA to understand and overcome the challenges of long-duration spaceflight", a NASA news release said, "and necessary for a sustainable presence on the Moon and missions deeper into the solar system, including Mars". Their mission is scheduled for April 2019. She has logged 322 days in space.
Veteran station flight engineer Mike Hopkins will be accompanied by rookie astronaut Victor Glover on the Crew Dragon's first operational flight to the station. Josh Cassada of the Navy, who will be making his first voyage into space. While some NASA astronauts are military officers, NASA itself is a civilian space exploration agency. "We are yet to know the final dates for the mission".
Maintaining the International Space Station costs the federal government up to $4 billion a year, and NASA is working on plans to privatize it.
The missions are meant to maximize the time the astronauts can dedicate to research in space, getting humanity further closer to the final frontier.
"The 7,000 women and men of SpaceX understand what a sacred honor it was for us to be part of this program and for us to fly you", Shotwell told the astronaut crews.
Eric Boe: Boe was born in Florida and grew up in Atlanta. Robert Behnken, a former Air Force colonel, will join former Marine Corps colonel Douglas Hurley on the Crew Dragon test flight. He made 400 carrier landings and flew 24 combat missions. He was chosen as an astronaut in 2000. He flew on a Space Shuttle Endeavour mission in 2008 and a Space Shuttle Discovery mission in 2011.
Nicole Aunapu Mann is a California native and a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps. He is a Navy commander, aviator and test pilot with nearly 3,000 hours flying more than 40 different aircraft.
Sunita Williams, a veteran astronaut with roots in Needham, is going back into space.
The missions will mark the first crewed launches from U.S. soil since the end of the space shuttle programme in 2011. Both companies have really leveled up their technology and safety measures with exhaustive tests that are bound to prove themselves once the spacecraft take off.
Bob Behnken: Behnken is a native of St. Ann, Missouri. The ULA Atlas V dual engine Centaur that will launch the spacecraft will be shipped to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station this month. He flew aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor in 2008 and 2010.
Doug Hurley: Hurley's hometown is Apalachin, New York. He is a Navy commander and test pilot with more than 3,500 flight hours in more than 40 aircraft. He has flown to space twice before this, both on space shuttle missions.
Josh Cassada: Cassada grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. He was selected as an astronaut in 2013.
Sunita Williams was born in Euclid, Ohio, but considers Needham, Massachusetts, her hometown. He has spent 166 days on the International Space Station for Expeditions 37/38, and conducted two spacewalks. Dr Deepak Pandya, her father, said that she would start training for the 2019-20 mission.
Victor Glover: Glover is a native of Pomona, California and he has three master's degrees. "This is a test pilot's dream".
The Boeing and SpaceX crewed test missions are arguably the most anticipated spaceship test flights this century.
Michael Hopkins was born in Lebanon, Missouri, and grew up on a farm near Richland, Missouri.
After years of vehicle development and building anticipation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has now put the crew in commercial crew spacecraft.
The biographical information in this report was provided by NASA.
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