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  NASA assigns commercial crew astronauts (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   NASA assigns commercial crew astronauts
Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-09-2015 10:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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NASA assigns 4 astronauts to commercial Boeing, SpaceX test flights

NASA has named its first commercial crew "cadre" — four astronauts who will train to fly on board the first test flights of Boeing's CST-100 and SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft.

The agency Thursday (July 9) announced astronauts Bob Behnken, Eric Boe, Doug Hurley and Sunita Williams will train to fly on the commercial capsules' maiden missions to the International Space Station. The flights are slated to launch in 2017, though could still face delays of a year or more depending on congressional funding levels.

"These distinguished veteran astronauts are blazing a new trail," stated NASA's Administrator Charles Bolden, "a trail that will one day land them in the history books."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-09-2015 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA videos

SpaceAngel
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posted 07-09-2015 12:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, I'm impressed that NASA has named the four person crew for the first commercial missions; however, does it feel that it's too early to assign as well as announce the crews that'll be flying?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-09-2015 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The four will be training for both vehicles (CST-100 and Dragon); crews for specific flights (and vehicles) will come later. But the standard training time for any spaceflight is about two years and we are about two years out from the test flights.

SpaceAngel
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posted 07-09-2015 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Who will be commanding the mission?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-09-2015 07:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Today's announcement wasn't a crew announcement and so there are no crew positions as of yet.

onesmallstep
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posted 07-10-2015 08:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting that they chose a mix of former shuttle pilots (Boe and Hurley) and mission specialists (although Williams has Navy rotary training, and Behnken is a former AF flight test engineer).

I imagine one NASA astronaut will be a 'prime' crewmember for each of the Dragon/CST-100 flights along with the contractor pilot-astronaut, and the other a backup. I wonder what their crew position designations will be.

dabolton
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posted 07-10-2015 09:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would expect the astronaut office to split into multiple divisions assigned to SpaceX, Boeing, and Orion vehicles.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-10-2015 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Boeing's CST-100 test flight will be one NASA astronaut, one Boeing pilot. SpaceX's Dragon test flight will be two NASA astronauts.

So that means three out of the four astronauts named on Thursday will be flying on the two first flights.

When operational flights begin, there may be division between Orion and space station, but for the latter, crews will be flying on CST-100, Dragon and Soyuz just depending on when their rotation happens to fall.

Robonaut
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posted 07-10-2015 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robonaut   Click Here to Email Robonaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by onesmallstep:
Interesting that they chose a mix of former shuttle pilots (Boe and Hurley) and mission specialists (although Williams has Navy rotary training, and Behnken is a former AF flight test engineer).
The important point here is that they all have a flight test background at some point in their career. I am sure that this was a prerequisite by NASA in considering their selection for the test flights of commercial crew spacecraft.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 07-11-2015 12:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How crazy would it be for Chris Ferguson of Boeing to fly with Doug Hurley again! - Although this means Garrett Reisman flying again is slim to none.

Delta7
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posted 07-12-2015 02:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hart Sastrowardoyo:
How crazy would it be for Chris Ferguson of Boeing to fly with Doug Hurley again.

Or even Fergie and Eric Boe. They flew together on STS-126.

328KF
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posted 07-12-2015 07:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My money is on Boeing Ferguson/Hurley. The latter mentioned in his interview that he wanted to be the guy to get the STS-1 flag back. Ferguson, in his position with Boeing, and barring any unforeseen medical issues would be the most likely candidate from that side.

I don't think the irony would be lost on anyone involved or observing if the last two front seat pilots to fly from U.S. soil would be the first ones to do so again.

MarylandSpace
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posted 04-26-2016 04:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has there been any indication as to which astronauts may be the first to fly for Boeing or SpaceX?

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-26-2016 04:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Per a commercial crew event at Boeing today, NASA (nor Boeing or SpaceX) has assigned its first crews yet but will do so later this year.

The crews will put from the four-member "cadre" named in July 2015 (as noted above) and, in the case of CST-100 Starliner, a Boeing test pilot (also still to be named).

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 04-27-2016 07:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are they also trained to fly Orion, or just the CCVs?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-27-2016 10:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The cadre are only training for the test flights of Starliner and Dragon. Training for Orion has yet to begin but a different subset of astronauts are working on its development.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-24-2018 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Boeing's CST-100 test flight will be one NASA astronaut, one Boeing pilot.
Boeing has selected Chris Ferguson to fly as its corporate astronaut on the first crewed test flight of the Starliner, reports the Washington Post.
He still looks every bit the NASA astronaut he once was. Same chest-out posture. Same Top Gun instincts. Same American flag on the left shoulder of his flight suit. Chris Ferguson even has a call sign, “Fergy.”

There is one small detail that sets Ferguson apart from the NASA astronauts he is training alongside. Where they have the space agency’s red-white-and-blue logo on their spacesuits, he wears Boeing’s corporate insignia — a small accessory that symbolizes what the space agency hopes is a new era in space travel.

...Ferguson now flies not just for the country, but for his employer. Boeing uses its own test pilots to run its vehicles through the paces, including commercial airliners and fighter jets. A spacecraft is no different, Ferguson said.

J Blackburn
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posted 07-25-2018 08:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for J Blackburn   Click Here to Email J Blackburn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is great news! My hat goes off to Boeing for naming Chris Ferguson for the first crewed CST-100 flight. It will be great to see Chris thunder back into space. Best of luck with training and the mission.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-25-2018 04:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA to Name Astronauts Assigned to First Boeing, SpaceX Flights

NASA will announce on Friday, Aug. 3, the astronauts assigned to crew the first flight tests and missions of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon, and begin a new era in American spaceflight. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will preside over the event, which will begin at 11 a.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency's website.

NASA will announce the crew assignments for the crew flight tests and the first post-certification mission for both Boeing and SpaceX. NASA partnered with Boeing and SpaceX to develop the Starliner spacecraft to launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and the Crew Dragon launching atop the Falcon 9 rocket, respectively.

Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana will join Bridenstine and representatives from Boeing and SpaceX to introduce the crews.

NASA's Commercial Crew Program is working with the American aerospace industry as companies develop and operate a new generation of spacecraft and launch systems designed to carry crews safely to and from low-Earth orbit. The Starliner and Crew Dragon will launch American astronauts on American-made spacecraft from American soil to the International Space Station for the first time since NASA retired its Space Shuttle Program in 2011.

Commercial transportation to and from the space station will enable expanded station use, additional research time and broader opportunities of discovery aboard the orbiting laboratory. The station is critical for NASA to understand and overcome the challenges of long-duration spaceflight, and necessary for a sustainable presence on the Moon and missions deeper into the solar system, including Mars.

Following the announcement, the astronauts will participate in a Reddit Ask Me Anything at 12:30 p.m.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-02-2018 06:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Shuttle test pilot Bob Crippen's advice for NASA's commercial crews

The last time NASA assigned astronauts to the first test flight of a new U.S. spacecraft — as it plans do on Friday (Aug. 3) for the first time in 40 years — Bob Crippen was front and center.

Or rather, front and right seat.

ejectr
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posted 08-02-2018 01:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am so ready for this! 100%!

Blackarrow
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posted 08-02-2018 05:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How will the chain of command work on one of these commercial flights?

Let's take a SpaceX Dragon mission to the ISS. SpaceX provides the rocket and the capsule, and NASA provides the two astronauts. Who provides the Flight Director? Who ultimately calls the shots on the flight?

What arrangements have been made to prevent an argument (during a crisis) between NASA and SpaceX? It isn't sufficient to say the mission commander's word is law: we remember what happened on Apollo 7, and that brings us back to the Flight Director. Will NASA be able to say to SpaceX: "It's our men on board, and this is what's going to be done!"

And does it make any difference if it's a Boeing mission and one of the astronauts is a Boeing employee?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-02-2018 07:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For launch, either through tower clear or spacecraft separation (a point still being decided), the companies are in charge of their own vehicles. Through docking with the space station, it is company specific:
  • SpaceX will staff its own mission control for Dragon at its facilities in Hawthorne, California;
  • Boeing has contracted with NASA's Flight Operations Directorate to have the space agency's flight controllers run a dedicated flight control room for Starliner inside the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
While aboard the space station, the astronauts (even corporate astronauts) answer to NASA and international partners' mission controls.

At undocking and through re-entry, control is returned to the companies (SpaceX through Hawthorne and Boeing through Houston).

Nominally, astronauts aboard either vehicle will have no flight control responsibilities. The vehicles are designed to fly autonomously or via commands from the ground. In the case of an anomaly, the crews will be trained to take action as appropriate.

oly
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posted 08-02-2018 08:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So for both SpaceX and Boeing the crew are essentially living cargo. While both these systems were designed for crew change missions, is there any provision within the flight program for testing on orbit, manoeuvring or other functions that could be used for other missions beside ISS-Earth operations at this time?

Does NASA allow scope within the ISS missions for SpaceX or Boeing to do some testing of their system for other purpose?

Blackarrow
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posted 08-02-2018 08:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That all sounds logical. Let's hope we don't hear a voice over the air saying: "Hawthorne, we've had a problem!"

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-02-2018 08:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by oly:
other missions beside ISS-Earth operations
Both Starliner and Dragon are Earth-orbit only vehicles (SpaceX has decided to forego use of Dragon for any its deep space plans), so there may be no such need or desire on the part of the companies.

That said, the companies have some freedom so long as it does not interfere with the services it is contracting with NASA to perform. For example, if NASA does not opt to use Starliner to its full crew and cargo capacity, Boeing can fill the fifth seat with a passenger (such as a Space Adventures' client or an international spaceflight participant).

Blackarrow
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posted 08-03-2018 06:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Nominally, astronauts aboard either vehicle will have no flight control responsibilities.
I might have suggested this will be a return to "spam in a can" like Vostok and Mercury, but 57 years later, automation is obviously far more sophisticated.

Will a crewed Dragon be docked by means of the manipulator arm on the ISS, as with the cargo Dragons? If that is the plan, and if the arm develops a fault during the docking procedure, will be crew have been trained to take over and carry out the docking manually? If not, would they have to return to Earth without docking?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-03-2018 07:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Both Crew Dragon and Starliner will dock directly to the International Space Station's pressurized mating adapters previously used by the space shuttle and modified for commercial spacecraft use. If there is an issue with the autonomous system, the crew can fly a manual approach.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-03-2018 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
NASA assigns commercial crews to fly on Boeing, SpaceX spacecraft

After years of vehicle development and building anticipation, NASA has now put the crew in commercial crew spacecraft.

The space agency on Friday (Aug. 3) announced nine men and women who will launch on the first crewed test flights and missions of new commercial spacecraft built and operated by The Boeing Company and SpaceX.

Delta7
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posted 08-03-2018 11:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Presumably backup crews will also be assigned.

328KF
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posted 08-03-2018 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did I miss something or did NASA not mention who the commanders of each of these missions will be?

Will there be new designations for the other crew or will they stick with the ISS standard?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-03-2018 11:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Butch Wilmore will serve as backup for both the test flight and first mission crews for Boeing's Starliner. Kjell Lindgren will be the backup for both the test flight and first mission crews for SpaceX's Dragon.

Mission positions (e.g. commander, pilot, etc.) have not yet been decided and will be announced at a later time.

328KF
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posted 08-03-2018 12:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What reason could they possibly have for not knowing who on the announced crews will be in command? I can see there being a lack of precedent with the Boeing crew, given that Ferguson is a Boeing employee. But with no SpaceX astronauts assigned, and no Boeing astronaut on the first post-cert flight, what is there left for NASA to decide?

This would be the first time a crew was ever named by NASA in such a way.

Headshot
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posted 08-03-2018 12:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Will a Starliner or Dragon be able to dock with the ISS while a Dragon or Starliner is already docked, e.g are there provisions to allow for both to be docked at the same time?

Also, will it be possible for a crew member brought to the ISS by one, to be returned to Earth by the other? Will spacesuit connections be "universal."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-03-2018 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dual docked ops is possible as there are two pressurized mating adapters and by the time the vehicles launch, both adapters will have been outfitted to support such. Whether such is planned is still to be seen.

As for spacesuit compatibility, I do not think that level of detail has been shared as of yet.

quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
What reason could they possibly have for not knowing...
It may be something as simple as the titles (terminology) still being in the tradespace, or it may be that it will be decided by the outcome of the training. No further details were given.

OV-105
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posted 08-03-2018 01:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the only surprise was Williams not being on one of the test flights.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-03-2018 04:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In my interview with Suni this afternoon, she said flying on the first Starliner full-up mission was a better fit for her skill set, both giving her a chance to command the Starliner and providing her another expedition stay aboard the International Space Station.

Headshot
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posted 08-03-2018 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Suni is a real team player.

SkyMan1958
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posted 08-03-2018 07:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the future, will there be a commercial owner (e.g. Boeing or SpaceX) crew member aboard all the flights? If so, what are the plans for the commercial crew astronauts, e.g. will they also stay aboard the ISS for ~ 6 months at a pop, or will they return on the previous Expeditions spacecraft ASAP?


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