With NASA as the anchor customer, Boeing's Starliner is setting the foundation for commercial passenger flights to and from low-Earth orbit destinations, to include worldwide astronauts, scientists and even tourists. His name is Josh Cassada, not John.
This mission, now targeted for April 2019, will liftoff from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida with the astronauts aboard Crew Dragon atop a Falcon 9 rocket.
NASA has tapped nine astronauts to become the first to launch to space from American soil since the Space Shuttle program was retired in 2011.
On July 8, 2011, the space shuttle Atlantis launched from Kennedy Space Center, marking the last time a USA astronaut was launched into space from American soil. These missions mostly include veterans from the Space Shuttle program, though it will be Aunapu Mann and Cassada's first trips to space. A NASA press release says more crew members may be added to those flights later. All have a military background.
The two astronauts that the SpaceX company will send later will be Mike Hopkins, who spent 166 days in the space lab, and Victor Glover, who will be making his debut.
The Drexel grad said his "fingerprints are all over" the Boeing Starliner, which he and two other crew members, Eric Boe and Nicole Aunapu Mann, are set to launch from Florida. Her sister Dina said that the family is proud of her achievements. "I really think it's just the beginning", Mann told The Associated Press.
Mr. Behnken, Mr. Boe, Mr. Hurley and Mr. Williams were named in 2015 as NASA's "commercial crew cadre" and have been working with Boeing and SpaceX on the development of the spacecraft and the simulators that will be used to train astronauts to fly. She then served two combat tours, flying 47 combat missions in F/A-18s (a USA combat jet) as a fighter pilot over Iraq and Afghanistan. The test flight with crew is scheduled for mid-2019. A recent abort test by Boeing resulted in leaking engine fuel.
This will be the fourth space flight for Ferguson, a former Navy fighter pilot. "But looks like it might".
This crew is made up of three astronauts: Eric Boe, who was the pilot of the space shuttle Endeavor; Chris Ferguson, who took part in the last launch; and rookie Nicole A. Mann.
Victor Glover, 42, and Michael Hopkins, 49, will fly on the first operational mission of SpaceX's crewed Dragon. "We have the greatest facilities in the world and we are now letting the private sector pay to use them".
Boeing's Starliners will soar on United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rockets. The Crew Dragon will launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Since 2011, the United States has relied on Russian Federation to ferry astronauts to the space station. On one side, Boeing showed off its spacesuit, a handsome blue uniform, next to SpaceX's sleek black-and-white suit.
The group likened piloting a modern spaceship to driving an iPhone, with only a few switches compared to the 3,000 in the old shuttle cockpit. Ferguson is the only non-NASA astronaut.
Prior to their maiden crewed missions, both Boeing and SpaceX plan uncrewed test flights in late 2018 or early 2019.
The first manned flights were initially supposed to take place in 2018.