On Friday, August 3, NASA officials say they have a long-awaited announcement to make.
Space agency officials say they will reveal the names of the astronauts assigned to crew the first flight tests and missions of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the Boeing Starliner.
These will be the first of the commercial astronauts.
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.
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 Crew Dragon and Starliner 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.
The Commercial Crew program was instituted by the Obama administration as a way to put the private sector in charge of low-Earth orbit operations, freeing up NASA and its budget for exploratory work such as crewed missions to destinations in deep space.