Here are the 1st people who will ride new SpaceX and Boeing spaceships

NASA has assigned the astronauts who will ride the first commercial capsules into orbit next year and bring human launches back to the U.S.

SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner will carry first-time astronauts, ex-space shuttle pilots

NASA assigned nine astronauts to crew the first test flight and mission of both Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. The astronauts are, from left to right: Sunita Williams, Josh Cassada, Eric Boe, Nicole Mann, Christopher Ferguson, Douglas Hurley, Robert Behnken, Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover. (NASA)

NASA has assigned the astronauts who will ride the first commercial capsules into orbit next year and bring human launches back to the U.S.

SpaceX and Boeing are shooting for a test flight of their capsules to the International Space Station by the end of this year or early next, with the first crews flying from Cape Canaveral, Fla., by next spring or summer.

The astronauts assigned to the first flights gathered Friday at Johnson Space Center in Houston for the announcement.

NASA announced Friday morning the names of the first astronauts to fly to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner. (NASA)

Boeing's first Starliner crew will include:

  • Chris Ferguson, who is now a Boeing employee, but is a former NASA astronaut who commanded the last shuttle flight in 2011.
  • Eric Boe, a NASA astronaut and former space shuttle pilot.
  • Nicole Aunapu Mann, who will be making her first space flight after being selected as a NASA astronaut in 2013.

SpaceX's first Crew Dragon will carry:

  • Robert (Bob) Behnken, a NASA astronaut who has flown on the space shuttle Endeavour twice.
  • Doug Hurley, a NASA astronaut and former space shuttle pilot.

The first crewed flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon is expected in April 2019, following an unmanned test in November 2018, NASA says.

Astronauts are expected to make their first flight aboard Boeing's CST-100 Starliner in mid-2019, following an uncrewed test flight in late 2018 or early 2019.

During the crewed tests, the astronauts will be able to see the displays inside the spacecraft, communicate with mission control and practice manual controls during flight. The spacecraft will dock and undock autonomously to the space station before flying crews back to Earth.

If those flights are successful, the companies will be certified by NASA for crew rotation missions.

NASA also announced the first astronauts to ride the Starliner and Crew Dragon for those first long-duration space station missions.

On the first Boeing Starliner regular mission will be:

  • Josh Cassada, who was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2013 and will be making his first trip into space.
  • Sunita Williams, a NASA astronaut who has previously commanded the space station and has spent a total of 322 days there.

The first Crew Dragon regular mission will include:

  • Victor Glover, a NASA astronaut selected in 2013 who will be making his first space flight.
  • Michael Hopkins, a NASA astronaut who has previously spent 166 days on the space station and conducted two spacewalks.

U.S. astronauts have been riding on Russian capsules to the space station since NASA retired its space shuttle fleet in 2011.

With files from CBC News