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NASA Astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada
Science & Technology

Commercial Crew Shake-Up: NASA Reassigns Two Astronauts From Boeing Starliner to SpaceX Crew Dragon

NASA crew members of the SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the Worldwide Area Station. Pictured from left are NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada. Credit score: NASA

NASA has reassigned astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada to the company’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the Worldwide Area Station as a part of the Commercial Crew Program.

Mann and Cassada will function spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively, for the Crew-5 mission. Extra crew members can be introduced later.

Crew-5 is predicted to launch no sooner than fall 2022 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Advanced 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Area Heart in Florida. The duo and their crewmates will be a part of an expedition crew aboard the station for a protracted period keep to conduct science actions for the good thing about humanity and exploration.

“Nicole and Josh have achieved an amazing job pioneering the coaching and path ahead for astronauts to fly on Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. They’ve gained expertise that they may take ahead as they prepare to fly in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and serve aboard the Worldwide Area Station,” mentioned Kathryn Lueders, affiliate administrator of the Area Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “The NASA crew is lucky to have two business crew companions and can proceed to work with Boeing and SpaceX to put together NASA astronauts and our worldwide companions to fly to and from the Worldwide Area Station on U.S. spacecraft.”

An artist’s illustration of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft in orbit. Credit score: Boeing

Mann and Cassada beforehand had been assigned to missions on NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Check and NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission, respectively. NASA determined it was necessary to make these reassignments to enable Boeing time to full the event of Starliner whereas persevering with plans for astronauts to acquire spaceflight expertise for the longer term wants of the company’s missions.

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore, Mike Fincke, and Suni Williams will proceed to present expertise for Boeing because the company prepares for NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Check. Extra Boeing flight assignments can be made sooner or later.

Mann is a California native and a colonel within the Marine Corps. She earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the US Naval Academy and a Grasp of Science in mechanical engineering with a specialty in fluid mechanics from Stanford College. She is an F/A-18 check pilot with greater than 2,500 flight hours in additional than 25 plane. NASA chosen Mann as an astronaut in 2013. This can be her first journey to area.

This artist’s idea reveals a SpaceX Crew Dragon docking with the Worldwide Area Station, as it’s going to throughout a mission for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. NASA is partnering with Boeing and SpaceX to construct a brand new era of human-rated spacecraft able to taking astronauts to the station and again to Earth, thereby increasing analysis alternatives in orbit. Credit score: SpaceX

“It has been the chance of a lifetime to prepare on a brand-new spacecraft, the Boeing Starliner, and it has been improbable to work with the Boeing crew,” Mann mentioned. “I’m thrilled to have the chance to prepare on one other new spacecraft – the SpaceX Crew Dragon – and admire the groups at NASA who’ve made that attainable. I’m prepared to fly and serve on the Worldwide Area Station.”

Cassada grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, and is a physicist and U.S. Navy check pilot. He attended faculty in Michigan after which accomplished his Ph.D. analysis at Fermi Nationwide Accelerator Laboratory earlier than changing into a naval aviator. Cassada has gathered greater than 4,000 flight hours in over 45 completely different plane. NASA chosen him as an astronaut in 2013. This can be his first spaceflight.

“It has been nice to spend the previous couple of years coaching with the joint Boeing and NASA crew, and I’m actually wanting ahead to now have an opportunity to additionally prepare with SpaceX on a brand new spacecraft. Cross coaching on each applications is a singular alternative to study, but additionally to present useful perception to future astronauts flying these spacecraft,” Cassada mentioned. “And, after all, Nicole and I are extremely excited to get to work aboard the Worldwide Area Station, executing present operations and likewise contributing to future exploration past low-earth orbit.”

For greater than 20 years, NASA has repeatedly had astronauts residing and dealing aboard the Worldwide Area Station, advancing scientific data and demonstrating new applied sciences, making analysis breakthroughs not attainable on Earth. As a world endeavor, 242 folks from 19 international locations have visited the distinctive microgravity laboratory that has hosted greater than 3,000 analysis and academic investigations from researchers in 108 international locations.

The station is a crucial testbed for NASA to perceive and overcome the challenges of long-duration spaceflight and to develop business alternatives in low-Earth orbit. As business corporations deal with offering human area transportation providers and growing a strong low-Earth orbit economic system, NASA is free to deal with constructing spacecraft and rockets for deep area missions to the Moon and Mars.

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