Houston: Indian-origin US astronaut Sunita Williams is among the nine astronauts named by NASA on Friday for its first human spaceflight programme since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.
After years of vehicle development and building anticipation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has now put the crew in commercial crew spacecraft.
The space agency announced that the nine astronauts will launch on the first crewed test flights and missions of new commercial spacecraft built and operated by The Boeing Company and SpaceX.
The eight active NASA astronauts and one former astronaut-turned-corporate crew member will launch on Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Dragoncapsules to the International Space Station beginning in 2019.
The missions will mark the first crewed launches from US soil since the end of the space shuttle programme seven years ago.
In addition to naming the crews of the test flights, NASA also announced today the four astronauts who…