The four designated crews, one for each of the spacecraft's first two missions, will embark on a new era of space travel, being the first astronauts to take off from U.S soil since 2011, when the space agency retired its Space Shuttle Program.
Check out the video below to see what the nine astronauts had to say after NASA appointed them for the first commercial missions to take off from American ground in USA -made spacecraft since 2011.
NASA has always been working on developing its commercial crew programme while it can focus on its space exploration projects, the report added. Astronauts Sunita Williams, Doug Hurley, Bob Behnken and Eric Boe have spent the past three years working with Boeing and SpaceX on their commercial crew spaceships.
Sunita Williams, the 52-year-old Indian-origin astronaut, will fly on Starliner's first mission with Josh Cassada.
The first regular mission of Crew Dragon will be carried out by Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins. He flew on two flights of the space shuttle including the final mission, Atlantis's STS-135. If all goes as planned, he could make history as the first private citizen to launch to orbit on a commercially operated space craft.More news: Imran Khan questioned by anti-graft body
"The Mercury 7 and the crews that we just announced - that same spirit is there", he said. The 1997 electrical engineering master's recipient has been selected by NASA to fly aboard Boeing's first commercial crew flight test, which is expected to lift off from Florida in the middle of 2019. Boe will be making his third trip to space. The contrast was on display Friday. It selected SpaceX and Boeing as its partners in 2014 for firm fixed-price contracts.
It could be the first time the nation has sent astronauts to space from USA soil since 2011, when NASA retired its space shuttle Atlantis and Ferguson was the last person to step off the shuttle. "That's a big deal".
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell touched on that today during the crew announcement. "We take it seriously". "We're not going to let you down".
The commercial crew program is a public-private partnership (PPP) where the private sector and the government share development costs and the government guarantees to buy a certain amount of services.More news: Five South Africans caught up in deadly Indonesia quake are safe: Dirco
That said, astronauts, on the whole, are a charming bunch with a whole lot of personality. Bridenstine said he had faith in the revised timelines.
Last week, Boeing confirmed that it had a problem with its launch-abort system, which is created to ferry crews to safety in the event of an emergency. The engines fired successfully, but several valves failed to close, allowing toxic propellant to leak from the engine.
"I think I probably did it better", Behnken said. Boeing most recently suffered a problem while testing its emergency abort system and its first test flight has been delayed until at least mid-2019. Dragons, meanwhile, will fly on SpaceX's own Falcon 9 rockets.
Bridenstine also introduced the crews of the first missions to the International Space Station by each new craft, which will follow the test flights.
"I'm sure that there is at least one Russian language instructor out there who thinks that having me fly a US vehicle is not a awful idea", Cassada said.More news: Oscars: Academy to add achievement in popular film category