Behnken, Hurley, Boe and Sunita Williams have been training on SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner since July 2015.
It is true, however, that SpaceX and Boeing are paying to use some facilities owned by NASA and the U.S. Air Force.
After Crew Dragon's demonstration mission with crew is complete, Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins will be the first two NASA astronauts to launch aboard Crew Dragon to the International Space Station for a long-duration mission. This will be her first trip to space. While both companies had recently said they would conduct their first test flights with astronauts on board by the end of this year, those flights are now scheduled for 2019. That flight is now projected to lift off in April of 2019. Williams has already spent more than 300 days in space.
"Safely and reliably flying commercial crew missions for NASA remains the highest priority for SpaceX", said Benji Reed, SpaceX Director of Crew Mission Management. It will be Glover's first mission. In any case, SpaceX is now the presumed leader of the race to capture the flag left on the station by the final space shuttle crew-a flag that has been waiting to return to Earth for eight years and counting.
NASA, SpaceX and Boeing have repeatedly stressed that they will fly only when the vehicles are ready.
But NASA's options may be limited by the global agreements that established the station in 1998.
Maintaining the I.S.S. costs the federal government up to $4 billion a year, and NASA is working on plans to privatize it.
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The US space agency, meanwhile, is working on building rockets and spacecraft that could allow humans to return to the Moon in the coming decade. While in the Air Force, he flew in 55 combat missions over Iraq. If any further delays creep up, NASA's astronauts may be temporarily stranded on Earth. He flew on a Space Shuttle Endeavour mission in 2008 and a Space Shuttle Discovery mission in 2011. She has a master's in mechanical engineering.
Cassada, a Navy commander and test pilot, joined the astronaut corps in 2013; the launch will be his first. Once the spacecraft is attached to the space station, it's created to stay there for 210 days. He retired from NASA after commanding the final shuttle mission in 2011, and eventually joined Boeing to help develop Starliner. NASA has worked closely with the companies throughout design, development and testing to ensure the systems meet its safety and performance requirements.
Robert Behnken is from St. Ann, Missouri. He is an Air Force colonel with a doctorate in engineering. He flew aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor in 2008 and 2010. In 2013 and 2014, Hopkins spent almost six months aboard the ISS, logging almost 13 hours of spacewalks.
Douglas Hurley calls Apalachin, New York, his hometown. By naming crews, NASA is signaling its belief that these astronauts will fly sometime soon. In between them, the astronauts have decades of space experience, including as members of the now-retired space shuttle.
Josh Cassada grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. He has a master's degree in physics and is a US Navy test pilot who has served in more than 20 combat missions.
Sunita Williams was born in Euclid, Ohio, but considers Needham, Massachusetts, her hometown. She was selected as an astronaut in 1998, and went on spend 322 days aboard the ISS, commanded the space station and performed seven spacewalks. The cargo missions started in 2012.
Victor Glover is from Pomona, California.
SpaceX is gearing up to send humans into space for the first time. It has also been paying billions for cargo deliveries to the space station by SpaceX and Northrop Grumman.
The biographical information in this report was provided by NASA.