Pomona — NASA on Friday assigned the astronauts who will ride the first commercial capsules into orbit next year and bring crew launches back to the U.S.
SpaceX and Boeing are shooting for a test flight of their capsules by the end of this year or early next, with the first crews flying from Cape Canaveral, Florida, by next spring or summer.
Nine astronauts were named to ride the SpaceX Dragon and Boeing Starliner capsules — five on the first crew flights and four on the second round of missions to the International Space Station.
One of those announced by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is someone from right here in Southern California. Victor Glover is from Pomona, California
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
NASA has been paying billions of dollars to SpaceX and Boeing to develop the crew capsules to pick up where the shuttles left off, while also paying billions for cargo deliveries to the space station by SpaceX and Northrop Grumman. The cargo missions started in 2012. The crew missions have been delayed repeatedly because of the technical challenges and difficulties of making spacecraft safe for humans.
Boeing’s Starliners will soar on United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rockets. Dragons, meanwhile, will fly on SpaceX’s own Falcon 9 rockets. The race to get astronauts to the space station first is real; a U.S. flag that flew on the first space shuttle flight in 1981 and the last shuttle flight in 2011, awaits the winner.