NASA announces astronauts for first commercial spaceflights from U.S.

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America, meet your new astronauts.

Nasa Administrator Jim Bridenstine introduced the astronauts during a ceremony at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

"It's incredible to get to this point".

The team is split into two parts, with each group specializing in one of the spacecraft: Boeing's CST-100 Starliner or SpaceX's Dragon. The Starliner is now set to launch in the middle of 2019.

The Starliner will launch aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Eric Boe is no stranger to NASA's Space Shuttle program.

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".

Boe's first trip as a pilot was aboard the Endeavour in 2008. He was selected as an astronaut in 2000 and piloted space shuttle Endeavour for the STS-126 mission and Discovery on its final flight, STS-133. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1992 from Washington University, and master's and doctorate degrees from California Institute of Technology.

Despite her relatively recent success in her work with NASA as an astronaut, NASA officials have noted she's the type of astronaut who could be sent on a manned mission to Mars or to an asteroid.

Christopher Ferguson is a native of Philadelphia. Hurley is a retired Marine Corps colonel and test pilot who has also piloted space shuttles Endeavor and Atlantis. "Space flight is about people". The four other commercial crew members are still with NASA.

Suni Williams: Williams was chosen as an astronaut in 1998 after a career in the Navy.

The space station's operational lifespan has already been extended to reach 2025, though the White House recently began discussing the idea of turning the aging station over to commercial investors who might be interested in continuing the ISS's run of maintaining a continuously manned presence in space for almost two decades. She served as a member of ISS Expedition 14 and Expedition 15. He is a Navy commander, aviator and test pilot with nearly 3,000 hours flying more than 40 different aircraft. The 52-year-old is of Indo-Slovenian descent and was born in Ohio.

On the first operational mission to the International Space Station, Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada would fly for Boeing. While she was there in 2007, she completed the Boston Marathon - on a treadmill - in 4 hours 24 minutes, marking the first time an entrant had finished the race from orbit.

Josh Cassada: Coming to NASA after a career as a test pilot in the Navy, Cassada was chosen as an astronaut in 2013. And it's now apparent that SpaceX is slightly ahead-it will conduct a crewed test flight in April of next year, while Boeing's crewed test is only scheduled for "mid-2019".

Bob Behnken (left) and Doug Hurley (right). USA astronauts now rely on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to get to and from orbit. He went to space again during Discovery's last mission in 2011.

Robert Behnken is from St. Ann, Missouri. He's also an Air Force Officer and former Chief of the Astronaut Office for NASA.

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