Gallery: NASA Announces astronauts who will fly first Commercial Crew missions

NASA assigns crews to first test flights, missions on commercial spacecraft

NASA Names Astronaut Team To Pilot U.S. Private Spacecraft In 'New Era'

"Space has transformed the American way of life", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during the event. SpaceX's and Boeing's rockets will be the first commercially-developed vehicles to transport astronauts to the ISS.

The astronauts were divided into smaller crews assigned to work on test flights and first missions to the global space station. He will be joined by Eric Boe, who has experience on both the Endeavour and Space Shuttle Discovery (which he piloted in its final mission in February 2011), and Nicole Aunapu Mann, an experienced test pilot and lieutenant colonel in the Marines.

Ferguson, who has been involved from the start in the Starliner's development, flew three shuttle missions as a NASA astronaut. Boe piloted two shuttle flights.

"Once you get into the spacecraft, you're on your way, you've got a mission, you're focused, and it's really exciting", she said. "But you know, it looks like it might". The crew is assigned to the first flight tests and missions of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon.

SpaceX's first NASA mission to the ISS, in turn, will include Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins.

It's been a long trip for these astronauts. The Space Agency further made an official announcement on Friday that the first launch will be carried out by nine astronauts. Those were Behnken, Boe, Hurley and Williams. As the other astronauts donned NASA patches on their blue jumpsuits, Ferguson wore a Boeing applique.

Robotic flight controllers released the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station's robotic arm at 12:38 p.m. EDT, and Expedition 56 Serena Auñon-Chancellor of NASA is monitoring its departure.

After successful completion of the flight tests with crew, NASA will review flight data to verify that the systems meet the agency's safety and performance certification requirements and are ready to begin regular servicing missions to the space station, the United States space agency said. Williams was listed as an entrant for the 2007 in Boston and completed the distance in distance in four hours and 24 minutes.In 2008, Williams participated in the Boston Marathon again, this time on Earth.

NASA assigns crews to first test flights, missions on commercial spacecraft
First NASA Space Launch with Private Sector | aerospace | commercial space flight

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner will be launched from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Glover, who also joined NASA in 2013, summed it up simply. He served more than 24 years in the US Marine Corps as a fighter pilot and a test pilot.

The US space agency, meanwhile, is working on building rockets and spacecraft that could allow humans to return to the Moon in the coming decade. Both vehicles are reusable. In fact, they've already changed this week.

Both companies will also conduct abort system test flights to ensure the astronauts can safely escape should their rockets go awry.

"It was awesome to see the computers come to life for the first time", said Lisa Espy, lead test engineer for SLS core stage avionics. But that changed Thursday (Aug. 2) when NASA rolled out a set of new launch targets.

A second round of test flights - manned flights - will follow the inaugural flights. But the schedule has repeatedly moved to the right for SpaceX as well as Boeing, due to setbacks ranging from SpaceX's launch pad blow-up in 2016 to Boeing's engine valve problems this June. In the meantime, NASA will still rely on Russian Federation to keep Americans flying in space.

SpaceX said it would fly crews by April. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, she said, founded the company in 2002 to build the safest and most reliable spacecraft possible.

The seven men and two women pumped their fists in the air and gave thumbs ups as they strode onto the stage to cheers from the crowd. "We take it seriously". "We're not going to let you down".

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