Astronauts picked for SpaceX, Boeing capsule test flights

NASA is naming 8 astronauts to fly SpaceX and Boeing's new spaceships - here's how to watch the announcement live

In a ceremony at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, NASA announced who would fly on the crewed test flights planned for next year of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon, as well as the first post-certification, or operational, missions by each vehicle.

"What an exciting and incredible day", Jim Bridenstine, NASA's administrator, said at the announcement at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The assignments will come from among a list of four astronauts who have already been training for the commercial crew program - Robert Behnken, Eric Boe, Douglas Hurley and Sunita Williams - all of whom have been on previous missions to the International Space Station.

The missions will mark the first crewed launches from United States soil since the end of the space shuttle programme seven years ago.

Chris Ferguson: While Ferguson has been retired from NASA since 2011, he has worked with Boeing's Starliner program for years, earning him a key post on the first crewed test of the system.

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said the company is targeting November for an unmanned test launch of the Crew Dragon atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

The first Boeing trip to the orbiting outpost includes Josh Cassada, who has never been in space before, and Suni Williams, who is one of the most experienced American astronauts in history, having spent a cumulative 321 days in orbit through her career. He has spent 166 days on the International Space Station for Expeditions 37/38, and conducted two spacewalks.

Both vehicles will launch from Florida - Boeing's Starliner, boosted by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rockets, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and SpaceX's Dragon from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center. The agency has contracted six missions, with as many as four astronauts per mission, for each company. And finally, the second SpaceX demo flight will be crewed by Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.

Selena Gomez's mum sends well wishes to Demi Lovato after overdose
The singer checked into rehab after she punched a backup dancer, and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Demi announced she was " not sober anymore " on her new single Sober last month.

After the Starliner goes for its test flight, Williams will be one of two crew members who ride it for its first mission to the International Space Station, according to NASA.

Ferguson commanded the final mission of the space shuttle program, and Hurley was the pilot on that flight. This will be Mann's first launch, having joined the astronaut corps in 2013. While both companies had recently said they would fly their first test flights with astronauts on board by the end of this year, those flights are now scheduled for 2019.

SpaceX did not give a reason for the delay of its first crewed test flight. The first tests flights are expected to take place within the next few months, into early next year. He is a colonel in the Air Force, where he was a flight test engineer before being selected as a NASA astronaut in 2009.

Victor Glover, 42, and Michael Hopkins, 49, will fly on the first operational mission of SpaceX's crewed Dragon. While she was there in 2007, she completed the Boston Marathon - on a treadmill - in 4 hours 24 minutes, marking the first time an entrant had finished the race from orbit.

NASA TV is broadcasting video of the announcement live from Texas.

NASA's Commercial Crew Program is facilitating the development of a US commercial crew space transportation capability with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit.

The new spaceflight capability provided by Boeing and SpaceX will allow NASA to maintain a crew of seven astronauts on the space station, thereby maximizing scientific research that leads to breakthroughs and also aids in understanding and mitigating the challenges of long-duration spaceflight. What is not known is who gets to fly on which company's spacecraft, and on which flight they get to launch.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Mosquitos test positive for West Nile Virus in Simcoe
Aug 04, 2018 - 01:32
Reports of West Nile infection comes after the deadly spread of the Nipah virus in the district. Less than 1 percent of infected people develop the sometimes fatal neuro-invasive illness.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Judge issues order to stop release of 3-D plastic gun blueprints
Aug 03, 2018 - 10:50
Trump had tweeted earlier that he was looking into the issue, adding, "Already spoke to NRA, doesn't seem to make much sense! ". The lawsuit against the Trump administration was filed in Seattle, Washington , by the state's Attorney General Bob Ferguson .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Remains from North Korea likely American soldiers who fought at Chosin Reservoir
Aug 03, 2018 - 10:44
Vice-President Mike Pence and U.S. military leaders received the remains in Hawaii during a sombre ceremony on Wednesday. USA officials say they have already contacted the family of a service member whose dog tag was returned.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top New York City Bans Smoking In Public Housing
Aug 03, 2018 - 10:14
These policies ban the use of cigarettes, cigars, or pipes from public housing units as well as within 25 feet from the buildings. The rule will be part of leases, and residents will be required to sign amendments agreeing to abide by the ban.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top U.S. Spy Agencies Say North Korea is Building New Missiles
Aug 02, 2018 - 01:55
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Tuesday played down the significance of the Post report . Trump tweeted his thanks to Kim after the remains arrived in South Korea.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Harley-Davidson unveils $825M global growth initiative
Aug 01, 2018 - 02:12
United States sales slid 6.4 per cent in the most recent quarter, and they're down 8.7 per cent at the halfway point of the year. Harley-Davidson also said it was moving the Livewire availability to August 2019, and released an updated picture (below).

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Jury of six men, six women sworn in for Manafort trial
Aug 01, 2018 - 01:28
Gates has since pleaded guilty and agreed to help prosecutors with their case, as one of the government's star witnesses. District Court in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018. "That's what Rick Gates was being paid to do".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Pixel 3 XL may come in 'Clearly White' colour variant
Aug 01, 2018 - 00:35
As well they should be - Google Pixel 2 is still one of the best camera phones in the world almost a year after initial release. The announcement of the Pixel 3/ Pixel 3 XL is expected to follow suit with the last two years, meaning around October 4th.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Isner reaches Atlanta Open semifinals for 9th straight year
Jul 31, 2018 - 14:30
The effort disappeared late in the opening set as opponent and world number 73, Cameron Norrie , took the opener. Isner has won eight of his nine semi-finals in Atlanta, and will look to improve his record of 13-12 in finals.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top 3 dead, 7 wounded after gunmen in New Orleans fire on crowd
Jul 30, 2018 - 00:27
The injured victims have been taken to hospital, although their conditions are not known. Police asked the community to share any information they may have about the shooting.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump denies lawyer's Russian Federation collusion claim
Jul 29, 2018 - 03:33
Rivera said Cohen was somewhat of a "consigliere" to Trump, in that he was the "one key person we tell all of our life story to". In a tweet he said, "I didn't know of the meeting with my - the meeting with my son Don Jr".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Pucker up: Meghan surprises Prince Harry at the polo
Jul 29, 2018 - 03:29
Meghan dressed in a tea-length Carolina Herrera resort dress in dark denim, featuring a v-neck and cap sleeves, for the event. The pair looked more in love than ever as they shared a smooch at charity sporting match, the Sentebale Polo Cup.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Liverpool Must Win After Spending Heavily - Jose Mourinho
Jul 28, 2018 - 00:50
On came Salah - scorer of 44 goals for the club last season - and he caused chaos with his pace, direct running and eagerness. Dominic Solanke got to the ball first but was crudely bundled over and the Reds had a spot-kick, on 94 minutes to settle it.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Lunar eclipse: Skygazers await century's longest 'blood moon'
Jul 27, 2018 - 10:31
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes behind Earth, so that the Earth blocks the sun's rays from striking the moon. However, he said it was still worth seeing as the next blood moon would not be visible in New Zealand until May 2021.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top USA senators push sanctions to send Putin election meddling warning
Jul 27, 2018 - 10:04
Congress had still to vote on the modifications to the legislation which would then be signed by Trump into law. In Wednesday's White House statement, Bolton indicated the Mueller probe would be over by January 1.