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"We congratulate all the astronauts chosen to fly to the space station on commercially developed systems". Initially, the Space X and Boeing flights will be "test flights" and flights of crew and cargo to the International Space Station.

"The 7,000 women and men of SpaceX understand what a sacred honor it was for us to be part of this program and for us to fly you", Shotwell told the astronaut crews.

The Starliner crew will include former NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson and Nicole Aunapu Mann, who is making her first trip to space, alongside Eric Boe, Sunita Williams and John Cassada.

On the test flight for the Starliner will be: Eric Boe, a former space shuttle pilot who retired from the Air Force; Christopher Ferguson, a Boeing astronaut who left NASA in 2011; and Lt. Col. Nicole Mann of the Marine Corps.

Since the shuttle was retired seven years ago, US astronauts have had to fly on Russian rockets from a remote launch site in Kazakhstan. NPR reports that some critics think the SLS is too expensive compared to industry developments like SpaceX's Falcon Heavy.

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 USA space agency said. Williams has the most diverse space background of the astronauts named today, having flown on both the shuttle and Soyuz and served aboard the International Space Station for two long-duration expeditions in 2006 through 2007 and 2012.

Republican congressman Chris Collins indicted for securities fraud
The company's stock price fell more than 90 percent after results of the drug trial were released publicly, the documents state. No allegations of misconduct have been leveled against him or Conaway, a former chairman of the House Ethics Committee.

SpaceX and Boeing are planning a test flight of their capsules by the end of this year or early 2019.

In addition to unveiling the test launch rosters, Bridenstine also revealed the crews of each spacecraft's second flight, which will ferry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. Boeing's Ferguson was pilot on STS-116 on board Space Shuttle Atlantis as well as commander of STS-126 on Space Shuttle Endeavour and the final flight of the space shuttle program, STS-135 on board Atlantis. "I'll tell you, being able to launch to the International Space Station from USA soil, I can't imagine better", Cassada said. She was selected as an astronaut in 1998, and went on spend 322 days aboard the ISS, commanded the space station and performed seven spacewalks.

Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins, who has spent more than 160 days in space, were selected to crew SpaceX's first full mission.

Boeing's Starliner will soar on United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rockets. With delays pushing the test flights for both companies back until at least 2019, there is still time.

It is true, however, that SpaceX and Boeing are paying to use some facilities owned by NASA and the U.S. Air Force. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, she said, founded the company in 2002 to build the safest and most reliable spacecraft possible. He also serves as a Navy commander, naval aviator and was a test pilot. Behnken and Hurley are scheduled to fly Crew Dragon for the first time in April 2019.


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