VIDEO: NASA names first astronauts for the inaugural commercial flights to the ISS


NASA names first astronauts for the inaugural commercial flights to the ISS

NASA has announced the names of the first astronauts who’ll fly to the International Space Station on American-made, commercial spacecraft.

The crews will fly to the space station on rockets built by NASA commercial partners Boeing and SpaceX. “Today, our country’s dreams of greater achievements in space are within our grasp,” said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, in a statement. “Today’s announcement advances our great American vision and strengthens the nation’s leadership in space.”

Nine astronauts were selected to crew the first test flights and missions of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. 

“The men and women we assign to these first flights are at the forefront of this exciting new time for human spaceflight,” said Mark Geyer, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, in a statement.

After each company completes their crewed test flights successfully, NASA will start the process to finally certify the spacecraft and systems for regular crew missions to the space station.

So far, NASA has contracted for six missions with each company, with as many as four astronauts crewing each commercial spacecraft.

In the 18 years that NASA has had a presence on the space station, the space agency has conducted experiments in biology, biotechnology, physics and space science that have resulted in thousands of spin-off technologies, the agency said.

With the new spaceflight capabilities through Boeing and SpaceX (initially), NASA says it will maintain a crew of seven astronauts on the space station for continued scientific research and experimentation on understanding and mitigating the challenges of long-duration spaceflight.

Eric Boe/ Photo courtesy of NASA 

Starliner Test-Flight Astronauts

Here are the astronauts who will be taking flight:

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