For the first time since the decommissioning of the Space Shuttle in 2011, American astronauts will launch to space aboard American-built rockets from American soil. America.
Now we know who those astronauts are.
The announcement was made today at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, in front of all the big shots – all of them. Before we even get to the Commercial Crew assignments, these were just some the people there for the event:
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, NASA Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer, NASA Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, NASA Kennedy Space Center Director of Flight Operations Brian Kelly, NASA Commercial Crew Program Manager Kathy Lueders, NASA International Space Station Program Manager Kirk Shireman, Boeing Defense, Space, & Security President & CEO Leanne Caret, SpaceX President & COO Gwynne Shotwell, and Senator Ted Cruz.
Administrator Bridenstine took the mic for the event’s keynote announcement. In front of a ~15ft tall archway adorned on top with NASA’s beloved meatball logo, with graphics of the ISS and Earth from space draped on each side, NASA brass and the SpaceX and Boeing Chiefs lined up for a handshake procession.
Building anticipation as he spoke for NASA’s version of the NFL Draft, Bridenstine introduced astronauts by mission, and gave background on each. Here’s the lineup:
NASA released an updated schedule for the first launches of its commercial crew program yesterday, with SpaceX’s uncrewed DM-1 launch planned for as early as this November.
SpaceX Demo-1 (uncrewed): November 2018
Boeing Orbital Flight Test (uncrewed): late 2018 / early 2019
SpaceX Demo-2 (crewed): April 2019
Boeing Crew Flight Test (crewed): mid-2019