The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rests on Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on February 5, 2018. (AFP/Jim Watson)
Three rookies of spaceflight are among the crew of astronauts strapping into Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and Boeing Co. capsules on the companies’ first flights with humans on board.
NASA assigned Victor Glover to fly with SpaceX and Josh Cassada and Nicole Aunapu Mann to launch with Boeing in tests and missions scheduled to begin over the course of the next year. The six other astronauts the agency introduced Friday in Houston joined NASA from the U.S. Air Force, Navy or Marine Corps.
I am overwhelmed and humbled to be a part of the @SpaceX team for my first flight! Feeling extremely grateful that the agency and our leadership have confidence in these crews to be part of such a critical mission. This is a big step for @NASA and for our Nation! #LaunchAmerica— Victor Glover (@VicGlover) August 3, 2018
Unreal. What an incredible honor to represent the Nation as part of the @NASA and @BoeingSpace teams. I get to launch and fly with @Astro_Suni, but really, we’re all together on this amazing journey. Wanna come? Follow me for mission updates. Let’s do this. #LaunchAmerica https://t.co/dxrbKoshda— Josh Cassada (@astro_josh) August 3, 2018
NASA awarded Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Boeing a combined $6.8 billion in September 2014 to revive the U.S.’s ability to fly to the International Space Station without buying seats on Russian capsules. On Thursday, NASA announced that SpaceX has scheduled Demo-2, its first crewed test flight, for April 2019. Boeing’s maiden mission with astronauts on board, called Crew Test Flight, is slated for mid-2019.