Clad in pressurized spacesuits, two Russian cosmonauts headed outside the International Space Station on Wednesday and hand-released four tiny CubeSats and installed hardware for a German experiment to track animal migration.
The NASA manager overseeing development of Boeing and SpaceX’s commercial crew ferry ships says the space agency has approved SpaceX’s proposal to strap in astronauts atop Falcon 9 rockets, then fuel the launchers in the final hour of the countdown as the company does for its uncrewed missions.
NASA announced Friday a mix of spaceflight veterans and rookie astronauts who will launch on the first flights of new Boeing and SpaceX commercial spaceships starting as soon as next spring, several months later than previously scheduled.
NASA is announcing the astronauts who will fly the first crewed test flights of the SpaceX Dragon 2 and Boeing Starliner capsules next year. The event at the Johnson Space Center is due to get underway at 11am EDT (1500 GMT).
Several NASA astronauts, plus Boeing test pilot Chris Ferguson, recently participated in a training session at Cape Canaveral, practicing how they would evacuate from the Atlas 5 rocket’s launch pad in the event of a countdown emergency.
NASA’s last space shuttle commander — former U.S. Navy fighter pilot Chris Ferguson — will fly Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner crew capsule on its first piloted test mission to the International Space Station next year.