The first astronauts have been selected for a ride on commercial rockets

In this illustration a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft approaches the International Space Station for docking

The commercial flights will mark the return of crew launches to the U.S., which has not seen humans lift off for space since the end of the iconic space shuttle program seven years ago.

"It will be thrilling to see our astronauts lift off from American soil, and we can't wait to see them aboard the International Space Station", he added.

NASA has confirmed a delay in the first piloted flights of Boeing and SpaceX, part of NASA's Commercial Crew programme to send humans to the International Space Station (ISS) on private United States spacecraft.

Taking the stage Friday before a huge American flag, Gwynne Shotwell, the president of SpaceX, told the crews: "What a sacred honor this was to be part of this program and to fly you".

The research taking place on the International Space Station is providing valuable information and breakthroughs for life on the ground.

SpaceX's first crew tests will be manned by shuttle veterans Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. He came to NASA from the Air Force, where he was a fighter pilot and test pilot and rose to the rank of colonel. The crewed flight tests will mostly mirror the uncrewed missions, except a flight commander and pilot will be manning each mission once they are ready for a human crew.

"It's absolutely the opportunity of a lifetime", said Mann.

"As a test pilot, it doesn't get any better than this", said Mann, a Naval aviator.

After each company successfully completes its crewed test flight, NASA will begin the final process of certifying that spacecraft and systems for regular crew missions to the space station. Boeing said only that it would fly NASA's astronauts by the middle of next year.

The team consists of men and women from across America. "Thank you very much-we take it seriously, and we won't let you down".

Sunita Williams, the 52-year-old Indian-origin astronaut, will fly on Starliner's first mission with Josh Cassada. He also commanded two more spaceflights in 2008. Williams has already spent more than 300 days in space. If all goes as planned, he could make history as the first private citizen to launch to orbit on a commercially operated space craft.

When Glover left San Luis Obispo almost 20 years ago, he joined the U.S. Navy and began his career as a Naval Aviator and test pilot. He's performed six spacewalks totaling almost 40 hours.

Crew Dragon is a passenger version of a robotic cargo ship Dragon, and SpaceX plans to use the spacecraft to send astronauts to the global space station. Behnken and Hurley are scheduled to fly Crew Dragon for the first time in April 2019.

The space agency has reason to be eager.

"NASA, which is making a BIG comeback under the Trump Administration, has just named 9 astronauts for Boeing and Spacex space flights, "Trump wrote on Twitter".

Maintaining the I.S.S. costs the federal government up to $4 billion a year, and NASA is working on plans to privatize it.

NASA has worked closely with the companies throughout design, development and testing to ensure the systems meet its safety and performance requirements. And, according to Nasa Spaceflight, it has landed successfully on August 3, on the Pacific Ocean in local time. He is a colonel in the Air Force, where he was a flight test engineer before being selected as a NASA astronaut in 2009.

SpaceX and Boeing are planning a test flight of their capsules by the end of this year or early 2019.

SpaceX did not give a reason for the delay of its first crewed test flight.

The companies are running out of buffer. As per NASA, it is anticipated that it will need two days to move the return capsule to the port and take away the returned materials for the operations that are next in line. Boe was selected by NASA to be an astronaut in 2000. Boeing's meanwhile are Orbital Flight Test and Crew Flight Test. "The ISS can not function without a USA presence on board to maintain and operate integral systems". The astronauts have been training with SpaceX and Boeing, on top of their NASA work, ever since. "We're so close", he said.

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