HOUSTON, Texas—For the first time since September 2010, NASA has named a new, All-American crew that will launch into space from the United States. In fact, the organization announced four of them on Friday, selecting the first two crews that will fly aboard SpaceX’s Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft on their test and operational flights.
NASA celebrated the announcement with all the pomp and circumstance one would expect from an agency that has chafed under a spaceflight gap during which America has relied on Russia for human access to space. As they were announced Friday, each of the nine crew members exulted as he or she walked across the stage. Some raised their arms in triumph. Others pumped their fists. It was a cathartic day in Houston, Texas as a crowd of onlookers in a large auditorium cheered.