In a recent announcement and video, NASA named a new, all-American crew that will soon launch into space from the United States aboard the SpaceX’s Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner spacecrafts, testing operational and commercial flights, reports Ars Technica. This is the first time since September, 2010, that NASA has given details or made any big announcements in regards to this particular innovation. Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s administrator, opened the event.
“What an exciting and amazing day. I want to be really clear about the health of America’s space program. The health of NASA and our space exploration program is as strong as it’s ever been, and it’s getting stronger every day.”
In what is surely to be seen by many as a fine day for NASA and America’s space program, there was a backdrop of a large American flag hanging at the event. Bridenstine, as well as others, remarked about the flag and how it marked a matter of great symbolism, being a moment that was impossible to miss.
“For the First time since 2011, we are on the brink of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil.”
Perhaps one of the most significant aspects of this announcement of a commercial crew program is that NASA has embraced the future by investing in SpaceX and Boeing, thereby stimulating the development of a potential commercial space industry, which many believe is something to be more than excited about.
The excitement level was ???? today as we announced the nine astronauts that will fly on some of the first Commercial Crew flights to the International Space Station (@ISS). American companies Boeing (@Boeing) and SpaceX (@SpaceX) have been building brand new, high-tech spaceships to transport astronauts from American soil into space for the first time since the space shuttle retirement in 2011.
This new spaceflight capability will allow us to maintain a crew of seven astronauts on the space station. That means more science! This scientific research leads to breakthroughs and also aids in understanding and mitigating the challenges of long-duration spaceflight, which is important in our journey to send humans to the Moon and Mars.
Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
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Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken were named to the first crewed flight of the Dragon spacecraft for SpaceX. Hurley commented on his own excitement surrounding this new venture into space exploration as a potential commercial industry.
“You’ve seen what they’ve done since the space shuttle retired seven years ago. It’s impressive to land first stages, and fly multiple missions per month. They iterate and innovate quite a bit, and sometimes you’re running just to keep up with them. Other times they use NASA as a resource. What excites me about these guys is that when they decide to do something, it happens at a quick pace.”
As for Boeing, NASA has new fixed price for human spaceflight, trying for a legacy of aerospace travel that will become leaner and more cutting edge, says Ars Technica. Boeing has embraced this as a company, and have provided the first private astronaut to fly on one of these Boeing vehicles. Chris Ferguson, a former space shuttle commander whose name is familiar to many, will be joining the shuttle pilot. Eric Boe is the pilot’s name, as well as accompanying first timer to space flight, Nicole Mann. She will launch the maiden Starliner.