NASA has always been a great point of discussion and argument in the US budgetary affairs but the institution itself is an inspiration to the American people and the young generation. NASA director Charlie Bolden signified most recently in his blog that July has always been considered a great month as far as the history of NASA goes.
“I am pleased to announce four American space pioneers have been selected to be the first astronauts to train to fly to space on commercial crew vehicles, all part of our ambitious plan to return space launches to U.S. soil, create good-paying American jobs and advance our goal of sending humans farther into the solar system than ever before,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “These distinguished, veteran astronauts are blazing a new trail — a trail that will one day land them in the history books and Americans on the surface of Mars.”
He announced the travel of New Horizons on July 14 to approach Pluto in close vicinity making the United States the first nation to visit this dwarf planet in the outer reaches of the solar system. He enlisted that this July 4 marked the tenth anniversary of Deep Impact, mankind’s first mission to reach out and touch a comet.
July 20, 1969 was the date that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made their giant leap for humankind meanwhile July 30, 1971 was the date that the lunar rover was driven on the surface of the Moon for the very first time.
The Pathfinder arrived on Mars on July 4, 1997. Furthermore, it was on July 14, 1965 that Mariner 4 flew by and sent us the very close-up first pictures of Mars. His purpose behind entailing all these significant events was to prepare the American people for a great news.
After the receiving of pictures from our neighboring planet Mars, it has been officially announced that four astronauts have been drafted to dwell Mars on the first commercial crew vehicle. Bolden enlisted the goals of the mission as that of returning the travelling astronauts back to US soil.
He wrote that President Obama had led great emphasis on the fact that the men and women who will be sent into space should return to the US soil. He said that President Obama had taken initiative himself in the Congress on ensuring the safe return of the astronauts.
The other goals behind these kind of missions would be to create a good job revenue for American people and offer them more chances at great employment opportunities. Furthermore making the USA the first country to explore the farthest corners of space. He said that the four astronauts that have been selected to fly this mission are already making history that would be preserved in annuls of American history forever.
“Today, NASA announced that it has selected four, veteran astronauts to be the first to fly to space on commercial carriers,” said John Holdren, assistant to the President for Science and Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
“Their selection allows NASA to move forward with the training necessary to deliver on President Obama’s ambitious plan for returning the launch of U.S. astronauts to U.S. soil, while creating good-paying American jobs, and moving us closer to the President’s goal of sending astronauts to Mars in the 2030s.”
The four astronauts that will commence training for the first commercial vehicle journey to Mars are Astronauts Bob Behnken, Eric Boe, Doug Hurley and Sunita (“Suni”) Williams among which Boe and Hurley are both pilots, while Behnken and Williams are mission specialists.
Behnken and Hurley are both military recruits who have been trained in the best NASA, US Air Force and Naval Academies and facilities. Hurley was most recently on a shuttle mission, STS-135. Meanwhile Boe and Williams are both high achieving individuals in space and physics sciences.
Together these four will be the first astronauts to take flight in the SpaceX commercial vehicle Dragon crew capsule; which will transport these astronauts safely to the International Space Station (ISS) since the use of Russian Soyuz rocket has been a definite declining option since the strained relations of the United States with Russia over the Ukraine issue.
“This is a new and exciting era in the history of U.S. human spaceflight,” said Brian Kelly, director of Flight Operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“These four individuals, like so many at NASA and the Flight Operations Directorate, have dedicated their careers to becoming experts in the field of aeronautics and furthering human space exploration. The selection of these experienced astronauts who are eligible to fly aboard the test flights for the next generation of U.S. spacecraft to the ISS and low-Earth orbit ensures that the crews will be well-prepared and thoroughly trained for their missions.”
While the astronauts are training, the commercial vehicles that guarantee to transport these 4 aspiring individuals to space are being prepared as well. It was announced in September, by NASA that both SpaceX and Boeing would be awarded contracts to build and operate spacecraft to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
For the purpose SpaceX received $2.6 billion to create on an updated design of its Dragon cargo spacecraft, while Boeing received $4.2 billion to turn the design of its CST-100. Both capsules will be able to carry a crew of seven, with their first flights slated for 2017.
The Dragon will launch on top of SpaceX’s Falcon rocket, and the CST-100 will initially launch on top of ULA’s Atlas V rocket, though it will be compatible with multiple rocket types. SpaceX has guaranteed that the transport per astronaut will be $58 million which is considerably less than the Russian Royuz rocket.
“We are excited to have such an experienced group of astronauts working with the Commercial Crew Program, Boeing and SpaceX and ultimately flying on the companies’ flight test missions,” said Commercial Crew Program Manager Kathy Lueders. “Naming these astronauts is a key step forward and consistent with past approaches to involve the crew in the design and development of new systems.”
“Congratulations to Bob, Eric, Doug and Sunita and welcome to the Commercial Crew team,” said John Elbon, Boeing Vice President and General Manager, Space Exploration. “We look forward to working with such a highly-skilled and experienced group of NASA astronauts as we carve a path forward to launch in 2017.”
If this mission goes successful, then NASA would be looking at cheaper ways to travel in space and help colonize Mars by 2030.
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