Environment & Science

NASA picks 4 astronauts to fly 1st commercial spaceflights

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speaks at a press conference in this July 14, 2014 file photo taken in Washington, DC. On Thursday, July 9, 2015, Bolden named the four astronauts who will fly on capsules built by SpaceX and Boeing. These astronauts will be the first humans launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, since the shuttles retired in 2011.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speaks at a press conference in this July 14, 2014 file photo taken in Washington, DC. On Thursday, July 9, 2015, Bolden named the four astronauts who will fly on capsules built by SpaceX and Boeing. These astronauts will be the first humans launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, since the shuttles retired in 2011.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speaks at a press conference in this July 14, 2014 file photo taken in Washington, DC. On Thursday, July 9, 2015, Bolden named the four astronauts who will fly on capsules built by SpaceX and Boeing. These astronauts will be the first humans launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, since the shuttles retired in 2011.
The NASA Orion space capsule atop a Delta IV rocket, in its first unmanned orbital test flight, lifts off from the Space Launch Complex 37B pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
John Raoux/AP
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speaks at a press conference in this July 14, 2014 file photo taken in Washington, DC. On Thursday, July 9, 2015, Bolden named the four astronauts who will fly on capsules built by SpaceX and Boeing. These astronauts will be the first humans launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, since the shuttles retired in 2011.
In this handout provided by U.S. Navy, Navy divers, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 (EODMU11), Mobile Dive and Salvage Company 11-7, attach a towing bridal to the Orion Crew Module during the first Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1) NASA Orion Program following its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 37 December 5, 2014 in the Pacific Ocean, 600 miles southwest of San Diego. The Orion spacecraft orbited Earth twice, reaching an altitude of approximately 3,600 miles above Earth before landing. The amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD 23) is currently conducting the first exploration flight test (EFT) for the NASA Orion Program.
U.S. Navy/Getty Images


NASA has selected four veteran astronauts to lead the way back into orbit from U.S. soil.

On Thursday, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden named the four who will fly on capsules built by SpaceX and Boeing. Each has test pilot experience and has flown twice in space.

The commercial crew astronauts are: Air Force Col. Robert Behnken, until recently head of the astronaut office; Air Force Col. Eric Boe, part of shuttle Discovery's last crew; retired Marine Col. Douglas Hurley, pilot of the final shuttle crew; and Navy Capt. Sunita Williams, a former resident of the International Space Station.

The companies are aiming for test flights to the space station by 2017. It will be the first human launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida, since the shuttles retired in 2011.