Former chief astronaut Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley - who served as co-pilot on the final shuttle mission - will fly on SpaceX's Dragon during its first manned flight. Crew members have worked years with companies to get here and they said they can not wait for the flights to begin next year.
NASA is announcing which astronauts will fly on the first commercial spaceships, now scheduled for next year. "Our commitment has always been to provide NASA and those crews the highest level of mission assurance", he said in the statement.
Behnken, Hurley, Boe and Mann are Nasa's first astronauts to be named to the test flights of new USA spacecraft since the March 1978 announcement of the space shuttle's first orbital flight test crews.More news: Trump calls on Sessions to end Russian Federation probe 'right now'
The commercial crew members took to the stage during an event led by Nasa Administrator Jim Bridenstine at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
On Boeing's first post-certification mission, NASA astronaut Suni Williams, who has flown on the space station two times already, will fly to the outpost again with first-time space flier Josh Cassada.
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 probe, which will travel directly into the Sun's atmosphere, will blast off aboard a ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.More news: Apple is officially worth more than $1,000,000,000,000
The announcement is a big deal because the last American crew-carrying spacecraft - NASA's fleet of four space shuttle orbiters - retired in July 2011. Boeing most recently suffered a problem while testing its emergency abort system and its first test flight has been delayed until at least mid-2019. He will be joined by Eric Boe, who flew on two shuttle missions and was another astronaut selected for commercial crew training in 2015, and Nicole Aunapu Mann, a member of the astronaut class of 2013 who will be making her first flight.
Victor Glover, 42, and Michael Hopkins, 49, will fly on the first operational mission of SpaceX's crewed Dragon. Boeing is aiming for a test flight at the end of this year or early next, and the first crew flight in the middle of next year. It won't be the first time SpaceX trounces Boeing.
The two pairs of Nasa crewmates will fly to the station with Russian cosmonauts and worldwide astronauts to be announced at a later date. What is not known is who gets to fly on which company's spacecraft, and on which flight they get to launch.More news: Daniel Ricciardo to leave Red Bull
A two-man team of NASA astronauts will ride SpaceX's Crew Dragon into orbit on its first crewed test flight, targeted for launch in April 2019. With the start of four-person commercial missions, the International Space Station crew is slated to grow by one to a seven-person residency in order to maximize the science that can be conducted on board. The spacecraft will dock and undock autonomously to the space station before flying their crew back to Earth.