The four NASA astronauts selected to train for Commercial Crew flight tests will share the stage today for interviews with national news outlets. NASA TV will carry the interviews live from the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston beginning at 3:30 p.m. EDT. The experienced space travelers – Bob Behnken, Eric Boe, Doug Hurley and Suni Williams – will discuss their newest assignments, the value Commercial Crew brings to continuing critical science on board the International Space Station and our new era of human space exploration.
“I am pleased to announce four American space pioneers have been selected to be the first astronauts to train for test flights to space on commercial crew vehicles, all part of our ambitious plan to return space launches to U.S. soil, create good-paying American jobs and advance our goal of sending humans farther into the solar system than ever before,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “These distinguished, veteran astronauts are blazing a new trail — a trail that will one day land them in the history books and Americans on the surface of Mars.”
Bob Behnken, Eric Boe, Doug Hurley and Suni Williams will train to fly on flight tests aboard Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft to certify them for operational use. Both spacecraft are in development with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Four astronauts will train to fly Commercial Crew flight tests in 2017 aboard the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Crew Dragon. Bob Behnken, Eric Boe, Doug Hurley and Suni Williams have been selected to be the first astronauts to board those spacecraft.
Get to know our new crew:
Bob Behnken on the value the team brings to Commercial Crew:
Eric Boe on why he is excited for Commercial Crew:
Doug Hurley on the Commercial Crew and Providers efforts:
The chance to add an additional crew member to the International Space Station once Commercial Crew spacecraft become operational will greatly increase the science potential for the orbiting laboratory. The station’s standard complement is six residents and that allows for about 40 hours a week of research work with the rest of the time dedicated to station operations and other duties. Adding just one more person to the station crew will enable about 40 more hours a week for scientific work.
The additional time will boost opportunities requiring human interaction, such as biological research key to understanding survival on a mission into deep space, growth experiments and space-based observations. Added together, a doubling of scientific time would better utilize the unique platform humans assembled 250 miles above Earth and have occupied for almost 15 years.
A key step to this research progress is the completion and operation of the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Crew Dragon systems now in the final phases of development with Commercial Crew. Both companies and NASA are making steady advances toward uncrewed flight tests before undertaking crew flight tests to the station. Together, the space agency and industry are paving the way to certification and operational missions, carrying four astronauts and a couple hundred pounds of powered cargo to the station at a time.
Learn more about the advancements currently being made on board the station and what the future holds by following along with the ISS R&D Conference in Boston this week via social media with #ISSRDC.
SpaceX and Boeing will work together to see a component valuable to the Commercial Crew effort of both companies delivered to the International Space Station this weekend. Boeing built the 42-inch-tall International Docking Adapter that is nestled inside the trunk of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft as it awaits launch to the station.
The IDA, as the adapter is called, will be the first of two installed on the station that will give Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon a place to park when they bring astronauts to the orbiting laboratory in the near future. Both of the next generation of crewed spacecraft are being built to the universal standards of the IDA which also features advanced sensors and targets that allow spacecraft visiting the station to safely dock autonomously. Read more about the IDAs and what went into building and processing them for launch at http://go.nasa.gov/1Ik5HjQ
A new crew access tower is taking shape one segment at a time at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station where metalworkers are assembling steel beams into tiers which will be stacked atop each other to form a 200-foot-tall structure fit to host astronauts as they embark on a mission to the International Space Station. The structure is being tailored by United Launch Alliance to the specifications of Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft which is to lift off from Space Launch Complex 41 aboard United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket to take astronauts to the orbiting laboratory for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Read more, at http://go.nasa.gov/1NkRbYY.
Want to see the latest progress in Commercial Crew? Watch Kathy Lueders on NASA TV beginning at 11 a.m. EDT as she discusses on Space Station Live the advancements in developing a new generation of crew transportation systems to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. Lueders is the program manager for Commercial Crew. You can tune in to NASA TV or watch the live link below.
Different destinations call for different vehicles and approaches on Earth – just ask anyone who has taken an RV on a family vacation! NASA is applying that philosophy to space exploration with Commercial Crew and the Orion/Space Launch System.
The two spacecraft under development by Commercial Crew providers Boeing and SpaceX are destined for the International Space Station, orbiting more than 250 miles above Earth. Astronauts will fly inside the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft to reach the station where they will conduct research off the Earth, for the Earth. Both the CST-100 and Crew Dragon will fly into space aboard rockets certified to safely carry astronauts to low-Earth orbit.
NASA’s Orion spacecraft is built to be launched aboard the massive Space Launch System, the first rocket since the Saturn V designed to send astronauts beyond the bounds of Earth orbit and into deep space. Astronauts inside Orion will conduct exploration missions to near-Earth asteroids and in the proving ground around the moon before making the journey to Mars in the 2030s. It’s a strategy involving all of the space agency’s human spaceflight knowledge and hard-won experience.