UAE could partner with firms for commercial space flights

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Additional crew members will be assigned by NASA's worldwide partners at a later date.

Once the first crewed test flights are complete, two more crews will fly on Crew Dragon and Starliner for long-duration missions to the space station. "We're flying American astronauts on American rockets from American soil", NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said during the presentation ceremony at the Johnson Space Center of Houston.

"As a test pilot, it doesn't get any better than this", said astronaut Nicole Aunapu Mann, a Naval aviator who will make her first trip into space on the first Starliner crew. "Today's announcement advances our great American vision and strengthens the nation's leadership in space".

NASA has worked closely with the companies throughout design, development and testing to ensure the systems meet its safety and performance requirements.

This mission, now targeted for April 2019, will liftoff from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida with the astronauts aboard Crew Dragon atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

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The astronauts assigned to the Starliner's first mission are Sunita Williams, who retired as a Navy captain, and Cmdr. It will be Mr. Cassada's first spaceflight. She has spent 322 days in orbit during two missions to the space station.

The Starliner flight will be Mann's first journey to space. Boeing's Ferguson was pilot on STS-116 on board Space Shuttle Atlantis as well as commander of STS-126 on Space Shuttle Endeavour and the final flight of the space shuttle program, STS-135 on board Atlantis.

SpaceX planned a non-passenger demonstration flight in November 2018, while the first astronauts, including Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, are expected to leave Earth in April 2019. Mann was selected as an astronaut in 2013.

This is also the first time that United States private companies will handle this routing, since NASA asked Boeing and SpaceX in 2014 to develop new launch systems to take over in 2019.

Earlier this year, NASA unveiled a commercial crew schedule that called for the first uncrewed test flights by SpaceX and Boeing this month.

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The process will begin with uncrewed flight tests as early as late 2018.

For SpaceX's first flight to the ISS, the NASA crew will be Victor Glover on his first space flight and Mike Hopkins, who spent 166 days in space as part of Expedition 37/38. Once the spacecraft is attached to the space station, it's created to stay there for 210 days.

For the missions to be successful, both capsules will have to launch, travel safely to the International Space Station (ISS), dock and undock autonomously and then safely bring the crews back to Earth. Between the end of the space shuttle program and the start of commercial crew operations, NASA's crew members have and are continuing to launch to the space station on Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

As per IT House, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft was launched on June 29, carrying a massive 2,697 kilograms of cargo to the International Space Station, which included experimental materials, spacewalking equipment, artificial intelligence jointly developed by IBM and Airbus.

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