This photo made available by NASA on shows, from left, Sunita Williams, Josh Cassada, Eric Boe, Nicole Mann, Christopher Ferguson, Douglas Hurley, Robert Behnken, Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover standing in front of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsules at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 3, 2018.
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By Marcia Dunn / AP
August 3, 2018

(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) — 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, Florida, by next spring or summer.

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

Boeing’s first Starliner crew will include a former NASA astronaut who commanded the last shuttle flight in 2011, Chris Ferguson, who is now a Boeing employee. The four other commercial crew members are still with NASA.

U.S. astronauts now ride on Russian capsules to the space station.

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