NASA reassigns two astronauts to SpaceX mission

NASA reassigns two astronauts to SpaceX mission
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NASA on Wednesday announced that it has reassigned two astronauts to its SpaceX mission next year.

Nicole Mann and John Cassada will be launching on the SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station as part of the agency's Commercial Crew Program, it said in a statement.

The astronauts and their crewmates will “join an expedition crew aboard station for a long duration stay to conduct science activities for the benefit of humanity and exploration,” the agency said.

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Crew-5 is expected to launch no earlier than fall 2022 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Mann had been assigned to NASA’s Starliner Test Flight in 2018, while Cassada was assigned to the Starliner First Mission.

Boeing was supposed to launch a test flight for Starliner on the Orbital Flight Test-2 in August, but that was delayed after issues with the space craft’s propulsion system.  A new launch date has not been set.

In a statement to The Hill, Boeing said “we understand the agency’s need to make adjustments to get members of the current astronaut class flying experience on an operational vehicle while the development of the Starliner spacecraft continues.”

“We fully support NASA’s decisions and remain committed to putting the safety of the astronauts who will fly on our vehicle first,” the company said.

A previous attempt to launch Starliner in 2019 was unsuccessful after the spacecraft’s flight control system misfired, CNBC noted.