HOUSTON — NASA announced Friday the astronauts selected for the first flight tests and missions of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon as it launches a new era in American spaceflight.
NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is working with the American aerospace industry as companies develop and operate a new generation of spacecraft and launch systems designed to carry crews safely to and from low-Earth orbit.
The Starliner and Crew Dragon will launch American astronauts on American-made spacecraft from American soil to the International Space Station for the first time since NASA retired its Space Shuttle Program in 2011.
Commercial transportation to and from the space station will enable expanded station use, additional research time and broader opportunities of discovery aboard the orbiting laboratory.
The station is critical for NASA to understand and overcome the challenges of long-duration spaceflight, and necessary for a sustainable presence on the Moon and missions deeper into the solar system, including Mars.
Following the announcement, the astronauts participated in a Reddit Ask Me Anything session.