The first test flights will take place next year.
Last Friday, NASA announced the first crew to fly into space, since their shuttle project officially stopped in 2011. The group of veteran astronauts who have just made public appearances will be a pleasure. NASA's hope for a new era of space travel.
This crew of astronauts will not travel to space by ship developed by NASA, but will be a ship from SpaceX and Boeing cooperation projects. These two leading companies are working on a project that provides a simple service called a passenger taxi to the ISS International Space Station.
During the ceremony at the Johnson Space Center, NASA director Jim Bridenstine stood on the stage introducing each new crew member. The astronauts split into two groups: one will work for SpaceX and one will work for Boeing.
During the first test flight of Boeing's Starliner, NASA selected astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Mann to fly with Boeing expert Chris Ferguson. Astronaut Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will conduct a flight test of SpaceX's Dragon ship.
During the first trip to the ISS station, two astronautSunita Williams and Josh Cassada will fly for Boeing; The crew of Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will fly with Dragon.
"It's really a unique opportunity in life," said Mann, an astronaut who officially entered the industry in 2013.
" The journey with the spacecraft will be what you always dreamed of as a test pilot," said astronaut Hurley, who was on the last shuttle.
From top to bottom, left to right: Sunita Williams, Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley and Eric Boe.
During an interview, NASA director Jim Bridenstine compared the newly selected astronaut team to Mecury 7 - seven astronauts flew to test at the dawn of the Space Era, their achievements were built. into The Right Stuff.
"The Mercury 7 team and the teams we just announced all have the same spirit. After all these years, the spirit still doesn't go away."
In 2014, Boeing and SpaceX successfully signed a $ 6.8 billion contract, the purpose of which was to develop NASA a system of ships that could take people to the ISS station. Since then, the two companies are still vying to see who can achieve this achievement first, a confrontation that could be considered the new century's space race. At the launch event, the two teams have two different uniforms: Boeing is blue, and SpaceX is black and white.
Director Bridenstine stated that this is NASA's historic moment: "We are bringing American astronauts right up in America."
As for Boeing and SpaceX, they all seem to be slowing down in this race: both are expected to test flight later this year, but have been pushed back to 2019.
SpaceX's chairman, Gwynne Shotwell, told NASA's astronaut team entrusted to her: "It is indeed an honor to be part of this space program and get people into space. We really appreciate this program, we will not disappoint people. "
SpaceX said that they will take astronaut teams into the air next April. Boeing said it was not until the middle of next year that they could carry out the project. The NASA director believed in this schedule, excitedly saying, "We've been very close to that day. Yes, I'm very confident in the project."
Just last week, Boeing confirmed that the emergency flight cancellation system had a problem, some lead valves did not close properly causing the solution to flow out. Boeing has overcome the problem and is rushing to make repairs.
SpaceX did not give a reason for the late flight test deadline. But information from many reliable sources said they were dealing with problems that could cause their powerful missile system to explode.
Americans are looking forward to the success of this project: since the shuttle missions stopped seven years ago, American astronauts have been boarded by Russian missiles, launchers located in Kazakhstan.