NASA Names First Starliner Crews

NASA Names First Starliner Crews

 "For the first time since 2011, we are on the brink of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told a packed auditorium at the Johnson Space Center. "

 

Chris Ferguson, who led the final mission of America’s space shuttle program, will return to the International Space Station as a commercial test pilot of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. He will be joined by NASA astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Mann.

 

The three pioneers will help restore American access to space from U.S. soil, a capability that ended when the shuttle was retired seven years ago. The spacecraft is expected to conduct an automated test mission to the ISS in March 2019, and to carry its first crew on a demonstration flight in August 2019

 

Ferguson has been an integral part of the Starliner program since retiring from NASA and joining Boeing in 2011. He spent more than 40 days in space for NASA during three shuttle missions.

 

"The engineer in me always thought if I'm not flying a spaceship, I ought to be part of the team building one," Ferguson said. "My fingerprints are all over the Starliner and I'm thrilled to get the chance to go back to space on a vehicle that I helped design from the ground up. The design draws upon Boeing's experience with NASA's Apollo, Space Shuttle and ISS programs as well as the Orbital Express project sponsored by the Department of Defense. Riding along with me are all of the members of the Boeing team who have put their hearts and souls into this spacecraft."

 

Starliner is being developed in collaboration with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, a partnership between NASA and the aerospace industry. The spacecraft is designed to transport passengers and cargo to and from low-Earth orbit. Nasa is depending on the success of  the missions as its contract with the Russian space agency expires in November 2019.

NASA introduced astronauts Chris Ferguson, Eric Boe, Nicole Mann, Suni Williams and Josh Cassada as the first pilots and crews for the Boeing Starliner.

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