NASA has introduced the astronauts who will make the first space flights on commercial rockets. The first commercial astronauts could be in space as early as next spring. SpaceX plans to launch its Crew Dragon rocket in November. If everything goes smoothly, then it could launch it again with a crew on board in April. Boeing is also working to put pilots into space. It plans to launch its CST-100 Starliner late this year or early 2019. It is targeting a flight with a crew on board for mid-2019. NASA has been relying on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to carry astronauts from other nations to the International space Station since retiring the space Shuttle program in 2011.
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