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NASA Announces Crews for Private 'Space Taxi' Project

07 August 2018

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.

Boeing and SpaceX were awarded contracts in 2014 worth a combined $6.8 billion to build the vehicles, which would enable the U.S.to use its own transportation systems - something it hasn't done since the space shuttle was retired in 2011.

Last week, NASA not only announced the nine astronauts assigned to its new crewed mission, the agency also revealed its schedule for test flights.

He said the announcement advances "our great American vision" and strengthens America's leadership in space.

According to NASA website, Williams - a veteran of two space mission expeditions - is now training for the first post-certification mission of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft - the second crewed flight for that vehicle - and her third long duration mission aboard the International Space Station.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will crew the SpaceX Crew Dragon test flight. NASA astronaut Bob Behnken, an experienced spacewalker who flew on two shuttle missions, will strap into the Crew Dragon alongside former shuttle pilot Doug Hurley. Once they receive the certification, NASA expects the companies to launch as many as six crews to the International Space Station.

The commercial flights will mark the return of crew launches to the USA, which has not seen humans lift off for space since the end of the iconic space shuttle program seven years ago.

US President Donald Trump also praised the news while giving himself a pat on the back: "Nasa, which is making a BIG comeback under the Trump Administration, has just named 9 astronauts for Boeing and SpaceX space flights", he tweeted. On the right, NASA astronauts conduct a fully-suited exercise in Boeing's CST-100 Starliner mock-up trainer in early May at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Boeing's second Starliner launch and first bona-fide NASA mission will send astronauts John Cassada and Suni Williams to the ISS.

Victor Glover: Glover was selected as an astronaut in 2013 after a career in the Navy as a test pilot.

Now, SpaceX will launch its uncrewed test flight in November 2018, with the first crewed flight next spring.

SpaceX's first NASA mission to the ISS, in turn, will include Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins.

After a seven-year hiatus, American astronauts will once again go to space from the U.S.

NASA seems confident these dates will hold, and that the commercial crew program is finally on the home stretch.

When the Starliner approaches the International Space Station, the docking will be fully autonomous as the spacecraft manoeuvres toward an adapted docking port for commercial spacecraft. SpaceX is trying to fix design issues with gas vessels and cracks in its engine turbines, and it's working to ensure that its rocket fueling process-which calls for filling the rockets while astronauts are on board-is sufficiently safe.

Last week, Boeing confirmed that it had a problem with its launch abort system, which is created to ferry crews to safety in the event of an emergency.

A recent mission abort by Boeing resulted from leaking engine fuel, and USA astronauts have until now taken Russian Federation capsules to the space station - at a cost of up to $82m for a seat. Boeing most recently suffered a problem while testing its emergency abort system and its first test flight won't be until at least mid-2019. "We're not going to let you down".

NASA Announces Crews for Private 'Space Taxi' Project