The first USA astronauts who will fly on American-made, commercial spacecraft to and from the International Space Station, waving after being announced, (left to right) Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, Nicole Aunapu Mann, Chris Ferguson, Eric Boe, Josh Cassada, and Suni Williamson at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas on August 3.
More astronaut crew members will be assigned to flight missions in the future, and both mission crews expressed the importance of adding them as soon as possible in order to reduce training challenges for both the crew and training teams.
These nine American astronauts will launch on the first missions from American soil in American spacecraft since the Shuttle program ended in 2011.
Nasa Administrator Jim Bridenstine introduced the astronauts during a ceremony at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. According to him, this announcement advances the great American Vision and strengthens America's leadership in space.
The space agency said on August 3 that the astronauts will launch new generations of spacecraft made and owned by private companies like Boeing and SpaceX into low-Earth orbit and to the International Space Station in coming years. Ferguson is a former NASA astronaut and space shuttle commander who now works on Boeing's Starliner program.
"It is going to be a proud moment for America", Mann said. "To meet NASA's requirements, the commercial providers must demonstrate that their systems are ready to begin regular flights to the space station".
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The two pairs of NASA crewmates will fly to the station with Russian cosmonauts and worldwide astronauts to be announced at a later date.
The timetable for the launches was supposed to have been for test flights to take place before the end of 2018, but both companies have faced technical issues that may delay that into 2019.
On the recordings you can listen to the talks of the three astronauts who took part in the mission: Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin Base and Michael Kansa, who was left to pilot a spaceship orbiting the moon while the other two members of the mission landed on the surface.
Astronauts Sunita Williams, Eric Boe, Robert Behnken, and Doug Hurley were previously named for commercial spaceflight by the agency in 2015.
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. "I'll tell you, being able to launch to the International Space Station from US soil, I can't imagine better", Cassada said. That is why in 2010 NASA started accepting proposals from commercial companies that were making astronaut transportation systems.