Chris Ferguson, who led the final space shuttle
mission, will make his fourth spaceflight when he and NASA
astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Mann take the new Boeing
CST-100 Starliner commercial crew spacecraft to the International
The three pioneers will help restore
American access to space from U.S. soil, a capability that ended
when the shuttle was retired seven years ago. Mann will also make
history as the first female astronaut on the inaugural crewed
flight of a new U.S. spacecraft.
“We’re immensely proud of
Chris and thrilled he will be part of first Starliner crew,”
Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space &
Security, said. “We congratulate all the astronauts chosen to fly
to the space station on commercially developed systems. We’re
taking important steps for this nation and toward development of a
thriving commercial space ecosystem.”
Ferguson has been an
integral part of the Starliner program since retiring from NASA
and joining Boeing in 2011. He spent more than 40 days in space
for NASA during three shuttle missions.
"The engineer in me
always thought if I'm not flying a spaceship, I ought to be part
of the team building one," Ferguson said. "My fingerprints are all
over the Starliner and I'm thrilled to get the chance to go back
to space on a vehicle that I helped design from the ground up.
Riding along with me are all of the members of the Boeing team who
have put their hearts and souls into this spacecraft."
Starliner flight will be Mann’s first journey to space. Boe will
be making his third trip to space.
Mann is a U.S. Marine Corps
lieutenant colonel and pilot of the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fighter
jet, while Boe is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who was a test
pilot on the Boeing F-15. He also helped make the space station a
home by delivering a kitchen, bathroom, sleeping quarters, water recycling system and exercise machine during the STS-126 mission.