Space X's Dragon will be tested by Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, and Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will be on the crew for that mission.
Since 2010, that program has inched along, moving ever-closer to crewed and uncrewed test flights.
But NASA's options may be limited by the worldwide agreements that established the station in 1998.
This crew is made up of three astronauts: Eric Boe, who was the pilot of the space shuttle Endeavor; Chris Ferguson, who took part in the last launch; and rookie Nicole A. Mann. NASA has worked closely with the companies throughout design, development and testing to ensure the systems meet its safety and performance requirements. SpaceX is targeting late November for its first test flight while Boeing is expected to launch in late December or January.
The Starliner capsule failed a test in June, which has forced Boeing to push back the vehicle's timetable. But that same propellant can be deadly to humans if not stored carefully. "They work to get the job done, and they love what they do".
Today's crew announcement for the SpaceX and Boeing test flights is a major step for NASA's push to restore American crewed access to space from US soil.
That system will likely fly some time early next decade. Therefore, it's essential that Crew Dragon and Starliner be ready for operational flights by the 2020 deadline. Both have been in the astronaut corps since 2000; combined, the duo has four Space Shuttle missions and more than 58 days of spaceflight between them.
These four are certainly top contenders for the first two missions. On Friday, the space agency introduced the nine-member team tasked with making the first flights.
Williams has been named for the Boeing programme to the ISS - the first test flight scheduled to take place in the middle of 2019. It will be first spaceflight for 45-year-old Cassada while Williams has the experience of two stays at the ISS.
The first Boeing trip to the orbiting outpost includes Josh Cassada, who has never been in space before, and Suni Williams, who is one of the most experienced American astronauts in history, having spent a cumulative 321 days in orbit through her career. Additional team members will be assigned by NASA's global partners at a later date. Bridenstine asked some what they thought about the idea that they might have initially been heading to space from Russian Federation, but will now be on board US -based launches. Both have yet to undergo uncrewed test flights before proceeding with astronauts onboard.
A few months ago, both companies had hoped to start flying people by the end of this year.
The two aerospace giants will each conduct a crewed test flight called the Orbital Flight Test for Boeing and Demo-1 for SpaceX before NASA begins their final certification process for the regular crew missions to ISS.
The US space agency, meanwhile, is working on building rockets and spacecraft that could allow humans to return to the Moon in the coming decade.
Both spacecraft are now undergoing hardware tests, with final processing ahead as launch dates hover closer. However, at least one source already disagrees.
"The goal is to have safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and foster commercial access to other potential low-Earth orbit destinations", NASA said.
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This article was originally published by The Washington Post.