Dragon Ends Stay at Station, On Its Way Home

Dragon Ends Stay at Station, On Its Way Home

The astronauts assigned to the Starliner's first mission are Sunita Williams, who retired as a Navy captain, and Cmdr. "Both partners said they really wanted to have an uncrewed flight test to make sure the integrated rockets, spacecraft and re-entry systems are all working as created to be able to ensure the integrated system is functioning".

"The 7,000 women and men of SpaceX understand what a sacred honour this was, for us to be part of this program, and for us to fly you", said Gwynne Shotwell, the chief operating officer of SpaceX, at the Friday press conference.

Last week, NASA not only announced the nine astronauts assigned to its new crewed mission, the agency also revealed its schedule for test flights. There are four flights in all-two each for SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner vehicle-scheduled to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) throughout 2019 once uncrewed test flights are complete.

Veteran NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will fly on SpaceX's first crewed Crew Dragon flight. NASA's last space shuttle mission, the STS-135 flight coincidently commanded by Boeing's Ferguson, flew in July 2011.

In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office said that further delays in NASA's "Commercial Crew" program could "disrupt access" to the space station, which would be an enormous embarrassment for NASA after investing about $100 billion to build and operate it. NASA worked closely with the companies to engineer both spacecraft. The other commercial crew members are still with NASA.

Three of the chosen astronauts joined the corps in 2013, which was before the commercial partnership was announced. It will be Mr. Glover's first time in space.




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.

For Mann, a former F-18 test pilot with the Marines, though, this will be her first space flight.

NASA paid seed money to SpaceX and Boeing to incentivize them to develop the crew capsules, picking up where the shuttle program left off.

The goal is vital for NASA's future space station experiments. He was selected as an astronaut in 2000 and piloted space shuttle Endeavour for the STS-126 mission and Discovery on its final flight, STS-133.

This mission will mark SpaceX's first operational crew mission under our current Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract with NASA. SpaceX says their test flight will happen this November, while Boeing is now targeting late 2018 or early 2019.

Boeing's Starliner will soar on United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rockets. She has logged 322 days in space. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, she said, founded the company in 2002 to build the safest and most reliable spacecraft possible. He is a Navy commander and test pilot with more than 3,500 flight hours in more than 40 aircraft. By naming crews, NASA is signaling its belief that these astronauts will fly sometime soon.

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