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Their voyages are scheduled to begin next year, and they would be the first American astronauts to launch from USA soil since 2011. Some, however, deem that target ambitious.

"For the first time since 2011, we are on the brink of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil", Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator, said.

"For astronauts getting ready to be assigned a flight, I really look towards the Swiss Army knife if you will". As the other astronauts donned NASA patches on their blue jumpsuits, Ferguson wore a Boeing applique.

At a press briefing Friday, Lt. Col. Mann called her maiden voyage aboard the Starliner the "opportunity of a lifetime", saying it's one that will "help usher in this new era of American spaceflight". It will mark Mann's first trip to space.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft will be launched on one of the company's Falcon 9 rockets, while Boeing's Starliner will hitch a lift on United Launch Alliance's Atlas 5. Their mission is scheduled for April 2019. An astronaut of Indian origin Sunita Williams is among the nine.

He logged more than 40 days in space.

Victor Glover, 42, and Michael Hopkins, 49, will fly on the first operational mission of SpaceX's crewed Dragon. It will be Glover's first mission.

Critics say NASA's rocket is too expensive and won't fly enough to be worth the money. Mr. Hopkins logged 166 days aboard the space station in 2014.

Over the past several years, NASA has pushed the private sector to maintain a presence in low-Earth orbit.

Michio Kaku on President Trump's new space directive.

North Korea building new missiles, US spies claim
The signing of a peace treaty could allow the North to demand the pullout of the 28,500 American troops stationed in South Korea. Members of the USA military carried caskets of remains from the Korean War off cargo planes at a military base in in Hawaii .


The seven men and two women pumped their fists in the air and gave thumbs ups as they strode onto the stage to cheers from the crowd.

Eric Boe was born in Miami and grew up in Atlanta. While in the Air Force, he flew in 55 combat missions over Iraq. He flew on two flights of the space shuttle including the final mission, Atlantis's STS-135.

Ferguson graduated from Archbishop Ryan in 1979 and then earned a bachelor's of science in mechanical engineering from Drexel in 1984.

"The first flight is something you dream about as a test pilot, you know, and you don't think it's ever going to happen to you", Hurley said. He was selected as an astronaut in 2013.

Suni Williams: Williams was chosen as an astronaut in 1998 after a career in the Navy. He retired from NASA in 2011 and has been an integral part of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner program.

NASA has worked closely with Boeing and SpaceX to design, develop, and test their spacecraft and systems to ensure they are safe. He has a doctorate in engineering and is a flight test engineer and colonel in the Air Force. Behnken was selected by NASA in 2000 and served as the agency's chief astronaut between 2012 and 2015. He became commander for the Endeavor mission in November 2008. He has performed six spacewalks.

Josh Cassada grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. It'll be his first spaceflight, though he has a wide range of experience with combat missions and testing aircraft.

Sunita Williams was born in Euclid, Ohio, but considers Needham, Massachusetts, her hometown. Eric Boe, retired Navy Capt. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1992 from Washington University, and master's and doctorate degrees from California Institute of Technology.

Crew for each flight will include at least a flight commander and a pilot. At the time, test flights were expected to be just around the corner, and the agency pledged to be rid of Russian reliance in 2017.


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