The space agency selected eight of its finest active astronauts, plus one retired astronaut, from a wide array of backgrounds.
NASA's response to GAO's warnings about a potential gap in having USA astronauts aboard ISS is that it is "brainstorming" options. On one side, Boeing showed off its spacesuit, a handsome blue uniform, next to SpaceX's sleek black-and-white suit.
Some of the astronauts chosen - seven men and two women - are veteran spaceflyers, and some will be making their first trips to space. NASA astronaut Bob Behnken, an experienced spacewalker who flew on two shuttle missions, will strap into the Crew Dragon alongside former shuttle pilot Doug Hurley. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will fly its first astronaut to ISS on a Soyuz in April 2019. This will be Ms. Mann's first launch, having joined the astronaut corps in 2013.
Boeing's first Starliner crew will include former NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson, who commanded the last shuttle flight in 2011. "Williams" family is upbeat about her space hat-trick. NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins would fly Dragon's first operational mission to the space station. It will be Glover's first mission. He, too, has a history on the space shuttle: Ferguson piloted Atlantis for STS-115, was the commander of Endeavour on STS-126, and Atlantis for STS-135, the final space shuttle mission.
SpaceX's first crew tests will be manned by shuttle veterans Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. The astronauts have been training with SpaceX and Boeing, on top of their NASA work, ever since.
When test flights do launch, Boeing's flight is dubbed Orbital Flight Test followed by Crew Flight Test. SpaceX's first flight is dubbed Demonstration Mission 1 followed by Demonstration Mission 2.
Maintaining the I.S.S. costs the federal government up to $4 billion a year, and NASA is working on plans to privatize it. "This accomplished group of American astronauts, flying on new spacecraft developed by our commercial partners Boeing and SpaceX, will launch a new era of human spaceflight".
Eric Boe: Boe was born in Florida and grew up in Atlanta. While in the Air Force, he flew in 55 combat missions over Iraq. She has a master's in mechanical engineering.
"The station is critical for NASA to understand and overcome the challenges of long-duration spaceflight", a NASA news release said, "and necessary for a sustainable presence on the Moon and missions deeper into the solar system, including Mars". She was selected by NASA to be an astronaut in 2013.
Ferguson has been an integral part of the Starliner program since retiring from NASA and joining Boeing in 2011. He has logged more than 40 days in space across three space shuttle missions.
Nasa took the decision after the shuttle retired to turn transportation to low-Earth obit destinations into a service that it could buy.
These demo tests will ensure that the integrated on-board rockets, and spacecrafts' critical electro-mechanical systems perform as expected. He is an Air Force colonel with a doctorate in engineering.