Nasa and SpaceX to launch first astronauts to space station since 2011

NASA said commercial transportation to and from the space station will provide additional research time and more opportunities for discovery aboard the orbiting laboratory. This is a new generation, a new era in human spaceflight,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a news briefing May 1 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. As the 30-year Space Shuttle Program drew to a close, NASA made plans to reach beyond low-Earth orbit and focus on the exploration of the moon and Mars. During the past nearly 20 years of continuous human presence on board the orbiting laboratory, Shireman said resident crews have conducted more than 2,900 scientific investigations for more than 4,000 researchers with partners in 108 countries across the globe. “We are closer than ever to bringing human spaceflight capabilities back to the United States for the first time since 2011, since the space shuttle retired,” said Benji Reed, SpaceX’s director of crew mission management. “The criticality of this is not just that capability but to help the space station stay fully operational – to help not only our space program but theprograms of many countries around the world.” The upcoming mission, called the SpaceX Demo-2 mission, will serve as an end-to-end flight test for the SpaceX crew transportation system, from launch to docking to splashdown at the mission’s end. Upon completionof training, he was assigned to Marine All Weather Fighter/Attack Squadron 225, where he made three overseas deployments to the Western Pacific. He was serving as the operations officer for the Naval Strike Aircraft Test Squadron in 2000 when he was tagged for the astronaut program.