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Boeing Starliner Astronauts Eric Boe, Josh Cassada, Chris Ferguson, Nicole Mann and Suni Williams made their first visit to KSC as a crew on Thursday.
Emre Kelly, FLORIDA TODAY

Boeing Starliner astronauts Eric Boe, Josh Cassada, Chris Ferguson, Nicole Mann and Suni Williams will quickly see many firsts: the first check flight of their spacecraft, the first crewed missions and, for 2, their first time in area.

Their visit to Kennedy Space Center on Thursday, whereas not as monumental, was nonetheless the first time the quintet got here as a crew to Boeing’s Starliner manufacturing facility, often known as the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility, or C3PF. NASA last week announced crew assignments for upcoming Boeing and SpaceX flights to the International Space Station.

“This building has a lot of significance as it applies to human spaceflight,” three-time area shuttle astronaut Chris Ferguson advised reporters at Boeing’s facility, which was as soon as considered one of three designed to course of the orbiters. “In a year or so, we’re going to send humans back up to low Earth orbit from the Cape Canaveral area.”

While there, the astronauts met workers tasked with constructing and testing their CST-100 Starliners, hopped inside to get a really feel for the and spoke with officers on their missions, to title a couple of. United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket will enhance their missions from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 41, which in addition they toured on Thursday – together with the a whole bunch of steps required to attain the highest of the launch tower.

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Boe, Ferguson and Mann would be the first to fly on a Starliner someday in mid-2019, the spacecraft for which is referred to as “Starliner Two.” There are a complete of three Starliners within the C3PF, considered one of which is strictly for Earth-based testing. Boe is a former shuttle astronaut and it’ll mark Mann’s first time in area.

Cassada and Williams, in the meantime, will fly on a long-duration – probably up to six months – flight to the ISS on “Starliner Three,” however that spacecraft should first launch on an uncrewed check flight someday in late 2018 or early 2019. Following that, will probably be refurbished for the duo’s mission.

Cassada, a first-time astronaut, is hoping to glean as a lot as he can from Williams, who flew to the ISS on two shuttle missions and spent practically 51 hours on spacewalks.

“Suni is really helpful to me as a rookie,” Cassada mentioned. “We’ve gotten to fly together and work together in the pool quite a bit, and for me it’s a real treat to be able to fly in space with her.”

All 5 are navy aviators.

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NASA broadcasts the astronauts chosen to fly on Boeing and SpaceX spacecraft at Johnson Space Center in Houston on Friday, Aug. three, 2018.
Florida Today

Seeing astronauts standing subsequent to their spacecraft is a visible milestone for the Space Coast, which hasn’t hosted a crewed launch for the reason that ultimate shuttle mission greater than seven years in the past.

“Just bringing regular launches back to Florida is pretty cool,” Williams mentioned. “Being able to have our friends and family just drive here to see a launch and people from all over the country watch a launch – that’s cool.”

Ferguson, who flew on the ultimate shuttle mission and has led Starliner’s growth as a Boeing worker, has seen KSC remodel for the reason that program’s finish in 2011.

“I would drive down the transfer aisle in and around here and the parking lots were empty,” he mentioned. “Now, it’s a vibrant facility. The parking lot is full every day.”

“I call Kennedy Space Center the wild west of space exploration right now. There’s no less than a half a dozen different programs going on.”

Contact Emre Kelly at [email protected] or 321-242-3715. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook at @EmreKelly.

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